06 June 2011

US Virgin Islands Governor Mourns the passing of former Lieutenant Governor Derek M. Hodge


Governor de Jongh Offers Condolences on Death of Former
Lieutenant Governor and Senate President Derek M.

The Virgin Islands has lost a true native son, a man of integrity
and enthusiasm, a brilliant attorney and politician
Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. today offered heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of former Virgin Islands Lieutenant Governor Derek Michael Hodge who died after a prolonged illness. “Lt. Governor Hodge was one of the most respected men in the territory. His wise counsel, sharp wit, friendship and political savvy will be missed and mourned by a great number of Virgin Islanders, myself included,” de Jongh said today. The governor credited Derek Hodge with playing a pivotal role in the development of the Virgin Islands during an impressive career. De Jongh characterized the life-long Democrat as a risk taker. “He challenged his Democratic Party in 1994 to run for Governor and even though he lost, he maintained a passion and commitment to public service. On his first attempt, he was elected to the Legislature in 1984 and even though he was a freshman senator, he was selected by his colleagues as Senate President,” de Jongh said today. 
In 1987, Hodge was inaugurated as the territory’s Lieutenant Governor, a position he held for eight years in the administration of then Governor Alexander A. Farrelly. “As the Commissioner of Insurance, Chairman of the Banking Board and overseer of the Office of the Recorder of Deeds, Tax Assessor’s Office, and Corporations Division, he modernized these functions and proactively worked for efficiency, accountability and accessibility. Lt. Governor Hodge was actively involved in securing federal funds for the territory through joint efforts with former Delegate to Congress Ron de Lugo. His work helped the territory receive over $20 million in appropriations for St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, as well as for health care facilities, prison renovations and hazard mitigation projects. He helped re-establish the Government of the Virgin Islands’ bond rating in the municipal bond market, which led to the issuance of $230 million in bonds for the Capital Improvement Program,” de Jongh recalled, noting that he had both the honor and pleasure of working with Derek Hodge while serving as Commissioner of Finance in the Farrelly / Hodge administration.
Upon leaving public office, Lt. Governor Hodge resumed his law practice. He received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1971 from Georgetown University Law Center. During his long and distinguished career, he was a member of the St. Croix firm of Hodge, Sheen & Finch, in partnership with his brother Winston; was a partner with his cousin Kathleen in the St. Thomas firm of Mackay & Hodge; and practiced law on his own.
“Lt. Governor Hodge maintained an active interest in the territory and its development throughout his life. He was part of an illustrious family that served the Virgin Islands for generations in public and private initiatives on St. Croix and St. Thomas. With his family ties and network of friends and colleagues, he was in touch with all aspects of life in the Virgin Islands. It was his passion to see the territory continue to modernize and expand for the good of all residents, and he spent much of his life pursuing these goals,” de Jongh said today. 
“Cecile and I offer our profound sympathies to Derek’s wife, Monique Sibilly-Hodge; his children Marisol Cohen and Jonathan Hodge and their families; his cousins and their families; other members of the Hodge circle; and his numerous friends, associates and colleagues.” The Virgin Islands has lost a true native son, a man of integrity and enthusiasm, a brilliant attorney and politician. “I hope that the territory’s outpouring of love and respect for Derek M. Hodge will help ease the loss of this husband, father, grandfather and friend,” de Jongh added. 

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