Thursday, September 20, 2012

Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie Pays Tribute to the late Paul Laurence Adderley

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 forty 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 modernization 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 civilization. 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. Adderly 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 1990’s, 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. A.F. 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, the Hon A.F. Adderley; 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.

September 19, 2012