Loyalty, integrity, honesty and determination are but a few of the words which he epitomised during his lifetime. Very few things affect us as death does and even fewer deaths touch us as has Jon’s.
It is with the deepest regret that the Saint Lucia Labour Party has learnt of the death of Stanley Nicolas Jon Odlum, servant of all who had the privilege of making his acquaintance. Jon, as he was universally known, did not set out for a life of politics. A convivial individual, he was always the life of the gathering. Considered by many as the wittiest of the Odlum family, his major pastime appeared to be making others laugh.
But there was a serious side to Jon, one which had to do with his love for the downtrodden and dispossessed. It was that passion which drew him to politics. It was that desire to hep the less fortunate which drove him to the constituency which he would eventually represent for twenty-three (23) years, making him that constituency’s longest serving Parliamentarian by some distance.
Jon first came to political prominence during the heady days of the early seventies when the advocacy groups SLAM and Forum emerged. Inevitably, he would graduate to the Saint Lucia Labour Party which was itself the product of the grass roots and working class movement. He would, in 1974, reap immediate success capturing 71% of the votes cast to romp home as the Representative for the Castries South Constituency. That victory would result in a lifelong love affair between the constituents and Jon, one that would be broken only his passing. He was re-elected in 1979 with almost 72% of the vote.
His loyalty to family would see Jon leaving the Labour Party and teaming up with older brother George and in a three-way contest in 1982 Jon was returned as the Parliamentary Representative with 49% of the vote.
He would return to his Labour family in 1997 and was once more victorious with 62% of the vote. His final electoral foray for his beloved Party would be in 2001 where he prevailed with 52% of the vote. History will record that Jon Odlum never lost an election under the Saint Lucia Party’s banner.
Jon’s selflessness would again become 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 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 SLHM (Gold), the second highest award which could be given to a civilian. No one deserved this more!
Jon was a team player like no other and following his return to the Labour Party in 1997, developed an unshakeable bond with Political Leader, Dr. Kenny Anthony which has variably been described as “quite remarkable.” Even when hospitalised last Saturday evening his thoughts were with Dr. Anthony, who himself, upon hearing of Jon’s passing, broke down uncontrollably.
It was Sir Oliver Lodge who said: “Death is not a foe, but an inevitable adventure.” And so it is with that indomitable spirit called Jon. He is no longer with us but we know the angels are all smiling for Stanley Nicholas Jon Odlum is now at home and at peace with his maker. He has embarked on another adventure.
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.
To his wife Mona, his children and grandchildren, as well as his surviving siblings, the Political Leader and Members of the Saint Lucia Labour Party say thank you for the wonderful gift that was Jon. We thank you for sharing him with us and the people of Saint Lucia. Much as we loved him though, we understand and appreciate that your loss is infinitely greater than ours and we extend our sincerest condolences to you.
May the soul of our brother, friend and confidante, Stanley Nicholas Jon Odlum rest in perfect peace.