Categorized | National News

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I am compelled to submit this letter in tribute to the late Paul L. Adderley, whom I admired greatly as a statesman and a person.

In 1962, a year after joining the police force, I was riding my bicycle on Thompson Boulevard in the area of what is now the College of The Bahamas. I was involved in an accident with a police patrol car which resulted in me being detained in hospital overnight. My bicycle, clothing and watch were extensively damaged. One month later, I was summoned to attend court in respect to the accident as a witness. The constable who was driving the car was found guilty of driving without due care and attention; however, no compensation was made of restitution for my damaged property. As a result, I was advised by Sergeant 156 Eric Hepburn to contact lawyer, Paul Adderley.

The following day, I appeared at the office of Mr. Adderley and explained my reason for being there. Mr. Adderley enjoyed a hearty laugh at my expense. Then he became serious and said to me, “Officer, your case is very unique indeed. I have been practicing law for some time, but I have never come across a case of a policeman being knocked down by a policeman driving a police car with a police sergeant being the police witness at the scene of the accident.” The he laughed again and said, “Now, you are wanting to sue the police for restitution of your property?” I answered in the affirmative and asked for funds for my injuries. Once again he laughed and said, “Officer, surely you are not serious with that. Where are you going to work after suing your boss? Have you heard of an employee suing his boss and remaining on the job? Go back to work and I will speak to Major Wenzel Granger and he will replace your property.” What about my injuries I enquired? To this Mr. Adderley replied, “Don’t forget you are the property of the Bahamas Government.”

A week later I was summoned to police headquarters and presented with a cheque for 25 pounds. My visitation to the lawyer was gratis. That was my introduction to Mr. Paul L. Adderley and our paths crossed many times after that.

I vividly recall an extraordinary, yet simply summation he delivered to a jury at a trial in the Supreme Court involving a wife charged with murdering her husband. “Gentlemen of the jury, this is a simple matter where one needs not be a genius to understand. If a man drives his vehicle up and down the street in a dangerous manner what eventually will be the result? Sooner or later he would either kill someone or kill himself. If a man goes home every Saturday night half drunk after leaving half his salary in the barroom and an argument occurs between him and his wife followed by a fight what will eventually happen? She will eventually kill him or the other way around. It so happened on the night in question he got his knife and she got her knife and in her defence, she struck first. The woman was found not guilty.

A few years ago, I attended a funeral of a lawyer who articled in the chambers of Mr. Adderley. Naturally, it was appropriate for Mr. Adderley to eulogise his former pupil. Prior to the usual “may he rest in peace” Mr. Adderley ended by saying, “That may have been the Robin Hood in him.” Two weeks later I met Mr. Adderley at the General Post Office where I engaged him in conversation, chief of which were the remarks given at the funeral. I told him that I did not feel that he gave the fellow justice. “Father,” he replied, “Did I lie on him, that’s the question? You are so accustomed to listening to a bunch of lies at funerals that when the truth is spoken it sounds strange. Father, I cannot talk people into heaven and neither can ministers by telling lies.”

During his tenure as minister of national security, Mr. Adderley and his wife attended many police functions at which I served as master of ceremony and entertained the audience. Whenever we met at police functions he would say, “I hope you are handling this. If you are, we are in for a good time.” Shortly after my ordination to the priesthood Mr. Adderley said to me, “Father, for God’s sake, you must not lose your sense of humour. God must have a sense of humour because humour brings happiness.”

Mr. Adderley’s passing leaves a void which will not be filled in the foreseeable future. It is very easy to use adjectives like integrity, ability and the like to describe the late Paul Adderley, but these words are too commonly used to describe persons without merit.

I close by borrowing a few lines penned by Lord Harvey to describe Henry Pelham (1696-1754), prime minister of Great Britain: “A good and able man. The notoriously sharp-tongue diarist of the time discovered not trace of scandal that could be attached to Pelham’s name or indeed anything very uncomplimentary that could be said against him.”

The good Lord knows that the Commonwealth of The Bahamas could very well do with more of the likes of the Hon. Paul L. Adderley. May the angels lead him into paradise.

Rev’d Fr. Rodney A. Burrows

Written by Jones Bahamas

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