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Arthur Hodgson

(Bermuda & St Peter's 1964) (25 February 1940 - 6 February 2023)

A former environment minister for the Progressive Labour Party was a stalwart – and occasionally outspoken when he disagreed with colleagues.

Arthur Hodgson was also the island’s first Black Rhodes Scholar, as well as a lawyer and former magistrate.

David Burt, the Premier and finance minister, this afternoon called Mr Hodgson “one of the leaders of a generation of social justice champions”.

He added: “Mr Hodgson was an outstanding scholar and served at the vanguard of the earliest days of party politics in Bermuda.

“He brought an unparalleled commitment to public service as an educator, parliamentarian, Minister of the Environment, lawyer and Magistrate.

“With his granddaughter [Arianna Hodgson] serving in the Senate, Arthur Hodgson’s legacy is a source of pride and inspiration.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, I express my sincerest condolences to his family on his passing.”

Mr Hodgson worked within the PLP through the 1960s, becoming a branch chairman for the party in Hamilton Parish.

He was elected to the House of Assembly in 1980, representing Hamilton West until 1983, during which time he served as shadow transport minister.

Mr Hodgson entered the House in the same year as Lionel Simmons of the PLP, who assisted him with the shadow portfolio and recalled him keenly investigating transport issues.

He went to law school after losing his seat, earning his degree in law from the University of Buckingham. He then attended the Middle Temple in London, where he was Called to the Bar of England and Wales.

He returned as an MP in the landmark General Election of 1998 that launched the PLP to power.

Returning to politics required him to step down from the courts to campaign, after three years as a magistrate.

Running in Hamilton West under the dual candidate system, Mr Hodgson and Randolph Horton of the PLP ousted United Bermuda Party incumbents Wayne Furbert and Maxwell Burgess, who were then Health and Family Services Minister and Home Affairs and Public Safety Minister respectively.

Mr Hodgson was appointed environment minister by Dame Jennifer Smith, the former premier – a position he relinquished just days after unsuccessfully challenging Dame Jennifer for leadership in 2000.

Mr Hodgson later backed Ewart Brown in his leadership bid.

Dr Brown, who served as Premier from 2006 to 2010, said: “Arthur was my friend and political colleague for more than 30 years. His contributions to the PLP and Bermuda were historic and memorable.

“Arthur was a man of devout faith and a unique combination of brilliance and stubbornness. I miss him already – and Bermuda will miss him more as time goes by.”