SAINT LUCIAN journalist Earl Bousquet on Tuesday evening delivered the 4th George Odlum Memorial Lecture at the National Cultural Centre.
The event, organised by The George Odlum Remembrance Celebration Committee, heard an almost two-hour non-stop presentation by Bousquet, which focussed on Odlum’s writings and writing skills.
The presentation, which was delivered on World Food Day (October 16), was entitled “Brother George’s Food for Throught’ and explored various aspects of Odlum’s writings.
Bousquet quoted what Odlum had to say about the writing skills and political penalties paid by his pioneering predecessor John H. Pilgrim (1886-1984), the first owner of The Crusader newspaper (established in 1934) that Odlum acquired in 1970.
It also quoted seven local authors who have written about Odlum, three collections of editorials, one anthology of poems dedicated to Odlum and other major articles and statements he published in The Crusader over three decades.
The lengthy presentation looked in detail at Odlum’s ability to combine his poetic and dramatic skills to help in delivering global messages to local audiences, his use of weekly columns to taunt the Establishment and his habit of writing edifying eulogies about great Saint Lucians who died.
Bousquet traced Odlum’s writings from 1968 to 2003 – when he died at age 69 – and the role his pen and The Crusader played in the fundamental change in his attitude to Prime Minister Sir John Compton in 1993, leading to his appointment as Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
The journalist, who was twice Editor of The Crusader with Odlum as publisher, offered 15 recommendations at the end of his discourse, including support for an earlier recommendation by writer and poet John Robert Lee that all Odlum’s writings be collected, collated and circulated for a better understanding of his valuable contribution.
Relatives and friends of Odlum attended, as well as former supporters and political activists, young students, members of the press and the diplomatic corps, while prominent friends of George Odlum attending included Monsignor Patrick Anthony, former Infrastructure Minister Calixte George, former Legal Affairs Minister Velon John, former Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte, former Saint Lucia Ambassador to the UN Earl Huntley and Development Consultant Martin Weeks.
The well-attended session was streamed live on Facebook and recorded for later circulation.
Meanwhile, at the end of the lecture, The George Odlum Remembrance Celebration Committee issued an appeal for persons interested in preserving Odlum’s legacy to volunteer and join to help do so.
The Chairman of the committee is veteran Saint Lucian broadcaster Jerry E.M. George.