A bust of the late legislator, Hodge, who served the Sixth District for over 3 decades, was also unveiled.
The dedication ceremony lasted roughly three hours and consisted of a skit from students from the nearby Alexandrina Maduro Primary School in his honour; his biography was read by his grand-daughter, Jae Hodge, a response by his son, Jeremy W. Hodge and tributes from sitting legislators such as Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) and Sixth District Representative Honourable Alvera Maduro-Caines.
Known affectionately as “The People’s Man”, the late Hodge, who served in various capacities, including Deputy Chief Minister, passed away on December 20, 2017, after a brief illness. He was 75 years of age.
“We are reminded by Elton John’s famous song “Candle in the Wind” that “your candle will burn out long before, your legend ever will”, and today is a testimony to the legend that was the late Omar Wallace Hodge, though he’s no longer with us, his legacy remains with us and we’re pleased to honour him in this way,” Honourable Maduro-Caines (R6), who toppled Mr Hodge in the 2011 general elections, said.
“We must note that this is an extremely special moment. It so easy for us to bestow these naming honours on educators as all public schools in the territory have been given the names of educational stalwarts. But when it comes to politicians, we often pause and find ourselves weighing the options, re-examining the prospect, reconsidering the suggestion to name a landmark for a servant of the people. It is true, we all work for some form of compensation; yes we all make money for our contributions, but the Honourable Sharie DeCastro once taught me, that beyond making money, some people make a difference and Omar Wallace Hodge made a difference and so is worthy of this honour,” she added.
Hon Maduro-Caines reminded attendees that for well over 25 years, Mr Hodge led the Sixth District to respectful heights of prosperity.
“His developmental influence is still seen and felt today. Beyond infrastructure, he was a man of immense heart and love and he deeply cared for people, much like I do. Omar Hodge would often remind you about his beloved “Plywood City”, as Purcell and other parts of the district were referred to because of the vast number of plywood houses appearing in the area. It’s not that plywood wasn’t very much the popular building material of the day, but many of the inhabitants of those plywood houses were in fact expatriates that made District Six their home first before moving to other places.”
She continued saying that the term ‘Plywood City’ was designed to be derogatory, and the late Honourable Hodge often defended these people and protected them, because he cared about both locals and expatriates.
“He became a bridge for the people of the day. He linked communities and cultures; he bridged village life with business development, all for his beloved District Six. I take it as no coincidence that this Fisherman’s Wharf and Park sits in the middle of the entire District. To its left is Johnson’s Ghut, Purcell Estate, Free Bottom and Fort Hill, while to its right is Baugher’s Bay, Gene Hill, Fish Bay and Kingstown. Looking over, it is Butu Mountain, Belle Vue and Sabbath Hill. This Fisherman’s Wharf and Park, by its very positioning, is representative of Omar Hodge’s life; it’s a bridge between the district as it is in the center of the District, a central focal point as Omar Wallace Hodge was for his people.”
Hon Maduro-Caines further said the opening of the Wharf and Park was just the beginning.
“The beauty is yet to be seen, which will be the events we have envisaged to hold here and most importantly, the families that will flock here for rest and relaxation. Additions to be made to the park are a restroom, built-in grill and playset for the children."
According to the third-term legislator, she won’t waste a moment of her speech to instruct or encourage grown people to treat the Wharf and Park with respect.
"I don’t intend to enter into campaigns to educate people on what should and should not be done here. Just know this, that if the Wharf and Park is misused and abused, it can always be closed and restricted until we collectively decided to act right,” she warned.
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said of the 32 years that the late Hodge served as a legislator, he [Hon Fahie] served 16 years as a young politician with him.
“He had some unique ways of solving problems, and I must tell you this, things that he did back then that would be looked upon by some back then as a disgrace, turned out now to be the right thing to have done,” he said.
One of Hodge's notable achievements was the acquisition of the world-famous Baths on Virgin Gorda for the people of the territory.
He also assisted in crafting and later passing a new Labour Code that protected the rights of both employees and employers.
“I ask everyone to come and use this area, to use it to respect the legacy of your forefathers and foreparents,” Hon Fahie stated.
Jeremy W. Hodge, the son of the late Omar W. Hodge, thanked the sitting government for the honour bestowed on the Hodge family.