I AM deeply saddened by the news of the passing this morning of one of our nation’s finest sons, my very dear friend, confidante and political colleague of many years, the Honourable Paul Laurence Adderley.
This is a grave loss for our country, for myself personally, and for the many thousands of Bahamians whose lives were touched by this truly remarkable human being and nationalist over the course of his more than 40 years of distinguished service to the Bahamian people.
Mr Adderley was a man of extraordinary intellectual brilliance. His accomplishments were legion. Indeed it is quite impossible to overstate the importance of his many and varied contributions to the development of our nation.
As the longest serving Attorney-General of the 20th century – a period spanning some 17 years – Mr Adderley engineered the transition of our colonial legal system into a new era of constitutional sovereignty while overseeing the modernisation of our laws in so many vital areas of national life. In so doing, he also expanded the judiciary and helped deepen the Rule of Law as the bedrock of our civilisation.
As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Adderley was the primary architect of the nation’s foreign policy in the founding years of nationhood; a foreign policy based on mutual co-operation and friendship with our neighbours but always within the context of the principles of self-determination and sovereign independence.
Mr Adderley was absolutely determined that the Bahamas, though small, should preserve its integrity as an independent nation and never allow itself to be subjugated to any foreign power.
As Minister of National Security, Mr Adderley was a courageous warrior against drug-trafficking. He was chiefly responsible for a wide range of anti-drug trafficking measures, including the OPBAT joint interdiction operations; the negotiation of mutual legal assistance treaties; and the introduction of a raft of new laws aimed at curbing the drug trade and bringing traffickers to the bar of justice.
Concurrently, Mr Adderley was responsible for sweeping changes to both the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force aimed at better equipping them to discharge their law enforcement mandates in the face of newly emergent crime threats.
As Minister of Education, Mr Adderley also achieved notable successes. He introduced a raft of initiatives aimed at raising academic standards in the public school system. He restricted social promotion exercises and instituted the BGCSE examination system.
He was also instrumental in expanding the government’s building programme for new schools while instituting the Cadet Programme as a means of better preparing high school students for the transition into responsible life in the wider community.
As Minister of Finance, Mr Adderley steered the country through the extremely difficult recessionary years of the very early 1990s, insisting on austerity and fiscal discipline as a means of surviving the crisis. That Mr Adderley was able to rise to this challenge while privately battling both cancer and heart disease makes it even more awe-inspiring. No finer example of patriotic commitment is to be found in the annals of the modern Bahamas.
But even beyond his immense achievements as a minister of the government from 1972 to 1992, Paul Adderley will also be remembered as a leader of the Bahamas Bar for nearly 60 years.
He was an advocate of incomparable skill admired by all his colleagues for the depth of his learning, the thoroughness of his research and preparation, his powerful intellect, his spellbinding oratory and, most important of all, his adherence to the highest standards of ethical propriety in all his professional dealings. He was, like his father before him, the Hon AF Adderley, a lawyer of truly legendary standing at the bar.
As a parliamentarian from 1962 to 1967 and then from 1972 to 1997, Mr Adderley was always a fiery and meticulously prepared debater, whether in the House of Assembly or the Senate.
Uniquely, he was the fourth consecutive generation of his family to serve in the Bahamian legislature, having been preceded by his father; and before that, by his grandfather, Wilfred Parliament Adderley; and earlier still by his great grand-uncle, William Campbell Adderley who was a member of the House of Assembly more than 130 years ago.
Faithful to this dynastic tradition, Mr Adderley enlarged upon the accomplishments of his forebears and always gave an excellent account of himself in the halls of Parliament.
Following his retirement from frontline politics, Mr. Adderley continued to serve our country in a variety of ways, most notably as the co-chairman of the first Constitution Commission.
Even with all of the foregoing to the credit of his name, Mr Adderley regarded his own family as his finest achievement. He was a family man for whom nothing was more delightful than the time spent with his devoted wife and daughters.
Finally, it needs be said that Mr Adderley was the very embodiment of personal integrity. He was absolutely incorruptible. He was a public servant of the highest order.
And yet he shunned all honours. He refused to even consider taking a knighthood when it was offered to him and reacted in the same way whenever any other honour was offered to him over the years. For Paul Adderley, the greatest honour of all – and the only one that really mattered – was the opportunity to serve the Bahamian people to the very best of his ability. And he did precisely that – with great distinction – for all his adult life.
On behalf of the government and people of the Bahamas; the Progressive Liberal Party of which Mr Adderley was a long and faithful member and a Stalwart Councillor; on behalf of my wife, Bernadette, and on my own behalf; I extend deepest condolences to Mr Adderley’s widow, Lilith, and their three children, Catherine, Roseanne and Paula.
A state funeral will be held for Mr Adderley, details of which will be announced shortly by the Cabinet Office.
By Former Prime Minister
I add my voice to many others, at home and abroad, in expressing sadness at the passing of the Hon Paul L Adderley, former parliamentarian, Cabinet minister, and distinguished attorney.
He was of that generation of political leaders who gave his considerable talents to the struggle for Majority Rule and independence.
Mr Adderley served five terms in Parliament, three in the House of Assembly and two in the Senate. He entered the Cabinet in 1972 as a Minister of State. He became the first Attorney General of an independent Bahamas and served in Cabinet during the following two decades as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of National Security, Minister of Education and Minister of Finance.
Mr Adderley had been in declining health for some time, so his passing was not unexpected. Nevertheless, his passing signals the end of an era as another of the earliest builders of a sovereign Bahamas passes into the annals of history.
His has been an illustrious career in politics and the law, of which his family and our country are proud. He followed in his father’s footsteps in his love of and dedication to the practice of the law.
He was a dedicated nationalist who promoted the interests of the Bahamas, and who sought to protect our sovereignty against any and all threats. He had a tremendous faith in the ability and capacity of Bahamians, whose talents he strove to cultivate.
He was a great lover of things Bahamian and developed a reputation as an avid photographer, particularly of our annual Junkanoo Parades. He was also a sports enthusiast.
I can attest that the 1980s proved particularly challenging for Mr Adderley as he strove to serve a government with which he was often at odds.
It was a time of turmoil for many in our country as we were confronted not only by the threats presented by the illicit international drugs trade, but also by the vigourous demands of the United States government in response to drug trafficking
I shall never forget Mr Adderley’s support and encouragement of me during that difficult period. Notwithstanding that we eventually followed different political paths, my respect for the integrity which typified his public life and his commitment to preserving our democracy remains.
On my own behalf, and that of my wife Delores and my family, I express deepest sympathy to his wife Lilith, and to his daughters, Roxanne, Catherine and Paula.
Even as we mourn his passing, we are grateful for the service of Paul L Adderley, a true patriot and a fine son of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. May he rest in peace.
THE Honourable Paul Lawrence Adderley was one of the two children of Mr AF Adderley, a well known and highly esteemed Bahamian lawyer.
Mr Adderley was born in 1928, a time when there was not a large cadre of Bahamian professionals and few black Bahamian lawyers.
Especially being a graduate of Cambridge University and a UK trained Barrister, he could have chosen to dedicate his life to private practice and to making a lot of money. Indeed, had he chosen the private practice life, his law firm would probably today have been one of the leading law firms in the Bahamas, if not the leading law firm in the Bahamas.
Mr Adderley, a committed Anglican and a man of deep faith, chose instead the path of national service; one which ultimately would assure that his labour would not be in vain.
Recognising that politics is a noble profession and a significant means by which there can be fundamental transformation of a society for the benefit of all, he joined the movement to universal suffrage, self government, Majority Rule and Independence.
He was the longest serving Attorney General in the Bahamas, as well as serving in other critical Cabinet Portfolios and Acting Governor General. His stellar tenure as Attorney General has not been forgotten.
He was at the genesis of the first “third political party”, the National Democratic Party. He was at the vanguard of the fight for a thriving democracy in the Bahamas.
Certainly, history will record Mr Adderley as one of the Bahamas’ Founding Fathers and the nation will forever be grateful for his tremendous sacrifices.
I celebrate and am thankful for the living example of Mr Adderley’s commitment to family, his unquenchable thirst for knowledge, his spirit of excellence, his loyalty to friends and his work to accomplish his vision of the Bahamas as a home of and for the brightest and the best. He believed that the Bahamas is the “best little country in the world”.
Deepest sympathy and prayers are extended to his wife, Mrs Lillith Adderley, and his daughters, Catherine, Roseanne and Paula who have lost a husband and father. The Bahamas has lost one of its brightest and best. May his soul rest in peace.
By Opposition leader
Dr Hubert Minnis
THE leader of the Free National Movement, its officers, members and supporters, are saddened by the passing of the Hon Paul Adderley.
A former parliamentarian, Minister of Education, Attorney General and Minister of Finance, Mr Adderley has made outstanding contributions to the development of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and leaves a rich political legacy.
We express heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr Adderley. We pray that God will sustain them during this difficult time of bereavement.