On 20 December the announcement that Hon. Omar Wallace Hodge, the former Minister of Natural Resources and Labour and Sixth District Representative, had passed shocked many.
Following the news then Acting Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering said in a statement that the news saddened him as he reflected on Hon. Hodge who gave a significant portion of his life in public service to this Territory.
The then Acting Premier said: “Hon. Hodge’s commitment to this Territory and his constituents was manifested in him being re-elected to political office for over 30 years. He was known as ‘The People’s Man’ or ‘The Man for The People’. Because of the love and respect that everyone had for him and the fact that he was a down-to-earth individual who lent a listening ear to everyone.”
“He attracted a wide circle of friends both locally and abroad. He went to great lengths to assist whenever and wherever he could, though sometimes he tried fitting a square peg into a round hole. If he was unable to solve a problem it could not be said that he did not try. He will be remembered as a well-groomed and dignified person who laughed heartily when given a good joke; never outwardly wore stress on his lapel; a man who loved all people and one who served his country and his people to the best of his ability. A true patriot, a soldier who fought a good fight,” the then Acting Premier, Dr. Pickering said.
Meanwhile, Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn referred to Hon. Hodge as a stalwart whose passing is a great loss to the Territory: “The Virgin Islands has indeed lost a stalwart of our community. Hon Omar Hodge was my good friend and colleague and made significant contributions to politics in the Territory.”
Hon. Walwyn said that Hon. Hodge remained committed to the people of these islands and worked tirelessly to ensure that the Virgin Islands made significant progress in its development. “I offer my sincere condolences to the family of Hon Hodge during this time. May his life, legacy and contributions be remembered in these Virgin Islands for generations to come,” the Minister added.
In his tribute the Virgin Islands Party Chairman and Leader of the Opposition Hon. Andrew Fahie said that Hon. Hodge was a great man who championed the cause of many: “It is a sad day. My condolences to the family of the late but great Hon. Omar Hodge. He served the BVI with all his heart, mind and soul. For many years he was the voice for the voiceless and brought hope to many persons who felt a sense of hopelessness.”
Hon. Fahie added: “The Virgin Islands Party as well as all the people in the BVI mourn his passing. He was a former Deputy Chief Minister, former Minister of Natural Resources and Labour and represented the Sixth district with distinction for many, many years. He was a caring man who would give his last to anyone in need. He loved people but most of all he loved his God. He was a true friend to many of us. May his legacy live on forever. May the soul of this great man rest in eternal peace.”
The late Hon. Omar Wallace Hodge was born on 2 February 1942 and was 75 years old when he died. He is survived by three children and his wife Dr Miriam Rodriguez Hodge. Hon. Hodge was first elected to political office in November 1979.