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Former government minister dies in St Lucia

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 19 February 2013


CASTRIES, St. Lucia - Former government minister and long serving member of the ruling St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) Jon Odlum, died Tuesday after a short illness. He was 76. Odlum, the brother of the late foreign affairs minister George Odlum, was the longest serving parliamentarian for Castries South, which he represented for 23 years, holding the portfolios of Community Development, Social Affairs and Sport. Odlum, the first ever television sport caster here, came to political prominence in 1974, when he captured the Castries South seat for the SLP and in 1982 joined his fire-brand brother, who formed the Progressive Labour Party (PLP), becoming the sole party winner in the elections of that year. SLP general secretary Leo Clarke said “Jon’s selflessness was evident as he decided during the 2001 to 2006 term would be his last, even though his constituents pleaded for it to be otherwise, Jon was insistent that it was time to pass on the mantle. “It was little surprise then to those who knew him that Jon would be present on platform to formally endorse current holder Dr. Robert Lewis as his successor. Not only that, Jon would also campaign tirelessly to ensure Robert’s victory. In a contest that was among the fiercest ever fought for that constituency, there is little dispute that Jon’s hard work was a major part of Robert’s success.” For his service to “The Community and Government” Jon was awarded the St. Lucia Hewanorra Medal (Gold), the second highest award given to a civilian.  “Jon fought the good fight; he served his people of Castries South with love and devotion and his country with distinction. We shall never forget him,” Clarke added. He is survived by his wife Mona, his children and grandchildren. (CMC)

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