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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesTRIBUTES AND CONDOLENCES POUR IN FOR OTTLEY

TRIBUTES AND CONDOLENCES POUR IN FOR OTTLEY

As word spread of the death Thursday of Earle B. Ottley, words of praise and sadness came forth from near and far.
In ordering the flags in the Virgin Islands to be flown at half-staff until after the funeral, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull compared Ottley with "such giants of the Caribbean as Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, Robert L. Bradshaw of St. Kitts-Nevis, Vere C. Bird of Antigua and Barbuda, Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante of Jamaica and our own D. Hamliton Jackson and Rothschild Francis.
"The Unity Party, which Ottley founded in the 1950s, was instrumental in the 1960s remaking and reorientation of the present Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands.
Beginning with the 1950s no one individual did more to advance the political evolution of the Virgin Islands," Turnbull said.
Former Sen. David Puritz, now living in Florida, who served in the Legislature for 14 years — 10 during Ottley's tenure — e-mailed his condolences to St. Thomas Source saying, "Earle B, as we affectionately called him, was my mentor and very personal friend. It is with deepest respect and sadness that I read of his passing. To Mrs. Alma Ottley and his family, may we express our deepest sympathies and heartfelt sadness."
John deJongh, president of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, expressed his sorrow both as an official of the chamber and as a personal friend.
"Earle Ottley represented to many people what they expect and desire in their political leaders, a person of passion for the job of helping others, the intellect to articulate a vision of what the Virgin Islands could be and desire to bring people together to achieve his dreams.
"While Earle may not be thought of as a businessman, he, in fact, owned several businesses and understood the weave of politics, business and government, and it gave many people in the business community comfort to know of his involvement in certain programs and initiatives.
"On a personal level, Earle is the person who approached me about participating in government as commissioner of Finance and helped me understand the relationships between good governing, business and politics."
James A. O'Bryan Jr., state chair of the Democratic Party, said, "As we close this century by witnessing the passing of this human rights crusader, we reflect with admiration and gratitude on the significant role he played in shaping the political and social development of the Virgin Islands that he loved. There is great irony that the party that he masterminded and served so long and well will meet in retreat this weekend to contemplate its future and define its purpose during the next century."
Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II recalled when his Uncle Randall "Doc" James was running for the Senate, "It was Sen. Ottley who persuaded the people on St. Thomas to swing their votes in favor of" James.
The lieutenant governor said there had not been an election in the Virgin Islands in which Ottley did not play a role.
He went on to note Ottley's influence in shaping the Virgin Islands economically and politically.
"Earle B. Ottley's efforts to improve the living conditions of thousands of working men and women will be remembered for generations."
Sen. Roosevelt David noted that Ottley always championed the cause of the "little man" —- especially in the areas of labor and home ownership.
"Because of his aggressive manner, he earned many admirers and just as many detractors," but David said, Ottley had the ability to bring everyone to the table to reach consensus on important issues.
"The one thing that everyone would agree upon was that he was the best of the very best."
Editors'note: For details of Ottley's life, see earlier story, "Earle B. Ottley dead at 78."

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As word spread of the death Thursday of Earle B. Ottley, words of praise and sadness came forth from near and far.
In ordering the flags in the Virgin Islands to be flown at half-staff until after the funeral, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull compared Ottley with "such giants of the Caribbean as Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, Robert L. Bradshaw of St. Kitts-Nevis, Vere C. Bird of Antigua and Barbuda, Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante of Jamaica and our own D. Hamliton Jackson and Rothschild Francis.
"The Unity Party, which Ottley founded in the 1950s, was instrumental in the 1960s remaking and reorientation of the present Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands.
Beginning with the 1950s no one individual did more to advance the political evolution of the Virgin Islands," Turnbull said.
Former Sen. David Puritz, now living in Florida, who served in the Legislature for 14 years — 10 during Ottley's tenure -- e-mailed his condolences to St. Thomas Source saying, "Earle B, as we affectionately called him, was my mentor and very personal friend. It is with deepest respect and sadness that I read of his passing. To Mrs. Alma Ottley and his family, may we express our deepest sympathies and heartfelt sadness."
John deJongh, president of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, expressed his sorrow both as an official of the chamber and as a personal friend.
"Earle Ottley represented to many people what they expect and desire in their political leaders, a person of passion for the job of helping others, the intellect to articulate a vision of what the Virgin Islands could be and desire to bring people together to achieve his dreams.
"While Earle may not be thought of as a businessman, he, in fact, owned several businesses and understood the weave of politics, business and government, and it gave many people in the business community comfort to know of his involvement in certain programs and initiatives.
"On a personal level, Earle is the person who approached me about participating in government as commissioner of Finance and helped me understand the relationships between good governing, business and politics."
James A. O'Bryan Jr., state chair of the Democratic Party, said, "As we close this century by witnessing the passing of this human rights crusader, we reflect with admiration and gratitude on the significant role he played in shaping the political and social development of the Virgin Islands that he loved. There is great irony that the party that he masterminded and served so long and well will meet in retreat this weekend to contemplate its future and define its purpose during the next century."
Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II recalled when his Uncle Randall "Doc" James was running for the Senate, "It was Sen. Ottley who persuaded the people on St. Thomas to swing their votes in favor of" James.
The lieutenant governor said there had not been an election in the Virgin Islands in which Ottley did not play a role.
He went on to note Ottley's influence in shaping the Virgin Islands economically and politically.
"Earle B. Ottley's efforts to improve the living conditions of thousands of working men and women will be remembered for generations."
Sen. Roosevelt David noted that Ottley always championed the cause of the "little man" —- especially in the areas of labor and home ownership.
"Because of his aggressive manner, he earned many admirers and just as many detractors," but David said, Ottley had the ability to bring everyone to the table to reach consensus on important issues.
"The one thing that everyone would agree upon was that he was the best of the very best."
Editors'note: For details of Ottley's life, see earlier story, "Earle B. Ottley dead at 78."