Omar Wallace Hodge
Former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands
Omar Wallace Hodge was a former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands.
Early life and education
Omar Wallace Hodge, the seventh of seven children, was born on 2 February 1942 to Lucy Ann Augusta-Maduro of Baughers Bay and Amos Hodge of Free Bottom, Tortola. He received his education in the Territory and later worked at the Department of Agriculture. His love for the land has influenced many of the bold decisions which he made during his Political career. Mr. Hodge has had a varied and challenging career as a Businessman which has included Restaurant and Supermarket ownership, Landscaping and Real Estate Development.
Hodge served as Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council from 1979 to 1983.
Hodge was the third longest serving member of the House of Assembly (including its former incarnation as the Legislative Council) after Lavity Stoutt and Ralph O'Neal. Hodge served continuously as the representative for the 6th District from his election in the 1979 general election until his surprise defeat in the 2011 general election. He served a total of 31 years, 360 days. He elected not to contest the 2015 general election and is presumed retired.
Hodge was a longstanding member of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), and six of the nine general elections which he has contested have been as a VIP candidate. Although he started his career as an independent candidate, he subsequently joined the VIP, but later split from them contested the 1990 general election on behalf of a newly created party, the Independent People's Movement (which was disbanded shortly thereafter), and the 1995 general election on behalf of the Concern Citizen's Movement, before later rejoining the VIP.
Hodge has twice served as Minister for Natural Resources and Labour (from 1986–1988 and then again from 2007–2011).
He served as Deputy Chief Minister and Minister from 1 October 1986 to 1988. From 1988 to 1997 he was a member of the opposition, before returning to the government benches from 1997 to 2003.
During his political career he was credited with bringing an end to the one hundred and twenty eight year old issue of the Anegada lands disputes. As the then Minister for Natural Resources Hodge, he had appointed the Anegada Lands Commission, which with his support and the people’s trust, had been able to bring about an agreeable settlement. He along with his appointed ad hoc advisory committee were also able to accomplish similar goals regarding Horse Path property in making it available to local residents.
Omar Hodge had championed the expatriate’s right to the comfort and peace of mind of Belonger status, after they have worked and lived in the Virgin Islands for many years. He has spoken out against them being sexually harassed while trying to obtain a work permit and also pregnant expatriate women being sent out of the country to bear their children.
He was also best known for breaking the mace during the 10th Sitting of the Legislative Council. Some has regarded this as his clearly demonstrated zeal and uncompromising attitude towards his quest for justice, the right to speak out for good and the right to live.
His ministerial achievements include:
The acquisition of the Baths, Virgin Gorda
The settlement of the Anegada lands
Disbursement of lands at Horse Path
Bringing unleaded fuel to the British Virgin Islands via Delta Petroleum
The first in-house gymnasium/basketball court in the British Virgin Islands at Belle Vue
The Baughers Bay Marina Development
The launching of the new Labour Code
As well as all the fundamental infrastructural works carried out in the 6th Electoral District during his tenure
Hodge died on 20 December 2017 after a stroke, at the age of 75. He was accorded an Official Funeral on 18 January 2018 at the New Testament Church of God International Worship Centre, followed by interment at the Johnson’s Ghut Burial Ground..