The late Jean-Barry Hodge (centre, with microphone) at the end of a protest march against mandatory vaccination on July 24, 2021. (Robert Luckock photos)
MARIGOT--The late singer and activist Jean-Barry Hodge was remembered by friends and supporters at a gathering on the Marigot waterfront on Saturday morning attended by his father Jean-Marie Hodge, to whom sympathy and condolences to the family were expressed.
Also known as “Ma’at King” and “Jay Jay”, Hodge was killed by a car in what was described as a hit-and-run accident in Sucker Garden in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 20.
Cédrick André, Marceline Dessout and others comfort Jean-Marie Hodge (centre), Jean-Barry Hodge’s father, at a gathering on the waterfront on Saturday.
Hodge was leader and spokesman for the movement SXM Resistance which was formed in July 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. It stood firmly against mandatory vaccination, citing infringement of civil liberties, insisting on the right to decide what any individual wants or does not want injected into their bodies. A least four protest marches and several press conferences were organised by the movement over the past two years.
Conféderation Générale des Travailleurs de Guadeloupe (CGTG) hospital union spokesperson Marceline Dessout described him as a “fighter against injustices”, and commended him and SXM Resistance for the support given to the suspended hospital workers from day one. “Our hearts are aching for a lion,” said Dessout. “He was outspoken, strong and committed to fighting injustice and he loved St. Martin.”
Danica Liburd said: “This is a very big loss for St. Martin. He was always there for the St. Martin people. He was very outspoken, a very strong character, and what I loved about him is that when he brought the facts to the population, he also brought the support information. When he got involved, it was because it was such an important matter to him. I will miss him a lot because we debated frequently and had deep intellectual conversations.”
Other condolences came from Luc “Lucky” Wellington, Cédrick André and Randy Webster on behalf of the Webster family. Others referred to Hodge as a “soldier” who will be sorely missed.
“Jean-Barry will never be forgotten,” said Randy. “We will continue to uphold his values and continue his legacy to defend the rights of St. Martiners. This is a tough loss because he was one of the best. But we can all be as strong as Jay Jay.”
SXM Resistance had been campaigning against the vaccination obligation since the beginning of the pandemic, insisting it had the safety of the St. Martin population at heart.
In September 2021 under its other umbrella Collectif Citoyen pour la Transparence de Saint-Martin (CCT Saint-Martin) it sought answers to some 40 questions on COVID-19 posed to the Regional Health Agency ARS and the director of Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital, but got no replies.
Since then, it continued to engage in laborious research into the efficacy of the vaccines, the side effects and the potential risks they present, with the aim of informing the population as completely as possible. Just before Christmas 2021, SXM Resistance announced to the press it had found proof from various sources and studies about side effects and risks of taking the vaccines.
SXM Resistance members have not yet publicly spoken on their loss and are said to be traumatised. A fitting tribute is expected to be organised in the coming days in consultation with the family.