Thursday, September 20, 2012

The young Bahamians who are demoralized by the dysfunction of the modern Bahamas ...should examine Paul Adderley’s service over the years... ...If you want your country to change, offer yourselves ...and make the change happen

The death of an intellectual

thenassauguardian editorial

Nassau, The Bahamas

Paul Adderley was an attorney, lawmaker, politician and thinker.  You might not always agree with him, but having an argument with the former attorney general required thought and intellectual skill.

Adderley died at hospital yesterday at 84.  He held various posts in the Pindling Cabinets during his long time in public life.  He served as minister of national security, minister of education, minister of foreign affairs and minister of finance.  He was attorney general for 17 years.

Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday described Adderley as the architect of the country’s foreign policy in the early years after independence.

Adderley was from a prominent family and his story was not the poor to prominence story many of the black elite tell today.  His father A.F. Adderley was a well-to-do lawyer in The Bahamas at a time when blacks were not a part of that order.   Paul Adderley 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 before that by his great granduncle, William Campbell Adderley.

Adderley did not have to give himself to public service.  He could have just lived the good life as many who inherit wealth and status do in The Bahamas.  Yet, he joined the fight of his generation for the self-determination of these islands.

As a parliamentarian from 1962 to 1967 and then from 1972 to 1997, Adderley helped shape the laws of our country and our legal system.  This willingness and desire to offer for service must not be downplayed – especially for a man who came from a privileged background.  People make nations great.  And it is the kind of commitment demonstrated by men like Adderley that helped transform The Bahamas from being a mere colony to an independent nation state.

As a long-serving member of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), Adderley saw the good and the bad of his party.  The PLP is the party of majority rule and independence.  It is also the party that by the 1980s was so mired in drug-related scandal that the reputation of The Bahamas internationally was poor.

Some PLPs of that era had to resign in shame.  Some were prosecuted.  Some were sidelined.  Adderley, however, left politics with his reputation intact.

“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,” former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said yesterday in tribute.

“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 vigorous 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.”

In the 2002 to 2007 period, Adderley was one of the key advisors to Christie.  Christie remembered him with fondness yesterday.

“Mr. Adderley was a man of extraordinary intellectual brilliance,” he said in a statement.

“Indeed, it is quite impossible to overstate the importance of his many and varied contributions to the development of our nation.”

Adderley will be buried in a state funeral.  His contributions to nation building will be remembered over the weeks to come.  The young who are demoralized by the dysfunction of the modern Bahamas should examine Adderley’s service over the years.  If you want your country to change, offer yourselves and make the change happen.

Sep 20, 2012

thenassauguardian editorial