My Friend is Dead! – Farewell Hon. Paul Lawrence Adderley



HON. PAUL LAWRENCE ADDERLEY 1928 - 2012 - From the collection Derek Smith as his UNCLE Paul lectures him on the steps of the House of Assembly.

By Bahamas Press’ Senior Editor

Today the man with the brilliant mind has passed. The man who fought for everything Bahamian has left us. The ferocious defender of the law is no longer with us… Paul Lawrence Adderley has moved into the land of eternal life.

My first encounter with this great defender of our time came when Paul Adderley was Minister of Education And Culture in the Pindling government. He had deep affection for children. He always had an inspiring word.

He had a passion for education.

Back then, one of his government offices was at the Postal Service on East Hill Street, and before 8am Adderley drove himself to work.

He would sit in his car for the longest, mulling over papers, gripping arguments in the daily news and yes, greeting people who worked at the postal service.

Paul Adderley was not the kind to run from people. He engaged people. He listened to people and he many times he then persuaded people to see his side of the argument.

His oratorical grip was like no other ESPECIALLY when it came to the law. He would defend his position in law and when a judge failed to agree with his point, language then became an unending debate.

Paul Lawence Adderley was the best!

Anyone who remembers could see him now, racing down Bay Street with briefcase in hand, hastily moving in the slow Bahamian rush-hour, delivering short gestures of compliments as he passed his fellowman.

It was a joy to engage the man who always appeared old to me, and senior to a senior. He was one who had always a trusting word of encouragement and a kind remark.

Adderley served as the country’s Attorney General who, in a time of national crisis, eloquently and with a great deal of spirit and passion argued to no end for the rights of the Bahamian people. He was also once the Finance man, the man who became Minister of National Security, and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Paul was modest and simple. Smart and respectful. Decent and kind and, unlike many who entered Parliament, very, very honorable – even to his final days in that place of no return.

He was decent! When you sat in his company, you had to be prepared to for a lecture, ready to be washed of independent thinking on any matter and prepared to transport the views of Mr. Adderley and defend them as your own.

He was convincing, persuasive and created many disciples with his wisdom.

He was polite! He was a Perry Christie Man, who, like a father in 1997, transported the trust of leadership to his political son.

I recall him telling the story of Mr. Christie once, whom, when he reminisced on the selection of a new leader of the PLP, said it like this: “We looked for someone who has character. We wanted someone who would defend the country. We wanted someone who would master respect around the world. We wanted an affectionate and caring leader. We wanted someone who could hold the party together and lead the country forward. Christie was not confrontational but was the best of the lot.”

And so it was in 1997 when the troubling question came as to who would become leader of the Progressive Liberal Party in that faithful convention, Paul Lawrence Adderley stood firm as like a “transitional leader” who presided over that war.

Adderley was the peacemaker who held the fractions and saved the Party. Like a Bishop of a great Cathedral Church, he became an embodiment of that institution [PLP], and many would forget how he was the glue within the organization after Pindling went on. It was Adderley who guided Christie and the PLP to victory in 2002.

He was kind! He was clear. Straight to the point, and a man with a brilliant, luminous brainpower.

He was well brought up.

You know sometimes when you spoke to Paul it was like you stood on trial, before a judge and jury, even when you were just asking him to look at something.

His questions were repetitive and intentional, with him hoping he would entrap you with your first answer.

He was old school!

Paul once showed me his vast collection of Junkanoo photography, which was impressive. How was it this scholarly gentleman, an intellectual; find himself standing all by himself, in the draft in the wee hours of a cold Junkanoo morning, taking pictures? This constitutional mind and framer got to know his people and never left them. This is something I still to this day cannot add up in my head.

Paul Adderley was Bahamian to the bone! He not only believed in this country; he lived that belief – holding the view that a Queen’s honour was not for him, his honour came from serving the Bahamian people.

He was true to the end! He was real! He was honest, frank, direct and trustworthy.

Consistent and dependable.

Indisputably, one could never doubt the fact that Paul Lawrence Adderley was one of the few Bahamians who walked the political landscape and kept his name fully unscathed and intact.

He wore the words “Honorable” honourably and today we salute him as he leaves us to make his final journey home.

To my dear friend who has gone to hold court far away from this place I bid you adieu.

Take your rest for your final evening of 84 years with us has come.

And so we pray that your soul rejoice therein with the saints above, rest in that eternal Comforter’s arms.

May the angels meet you. May the saints greet you, as the heavens tell of your work on God’s earth…

Goodbye my friend! Farewell!

Paul Adderley being interviewed by a Bahamain movie maker.


  1. What a joy reading Derek’s tribute to his dear friend—Paul Adderley—“Uncle Paul”! What a blessing to have worked with such a brilliant visionary leader, who had a passion for life—especially, Education! He loved life and displayed such via his respect for others from all over, in most compassionate, sharing,caring, and humbling ways. He wanted “the best” for his people! We are thankful for the earthly life of such a Honorable Man who enhanced the lives of many! May his soul rest in peace and joy! Beverly J.T.Taylor, Science Educator/Administrator – MOE/MOEST (1969-2007)

  2. Derek’s article of a most exceptional human being is well presented, true to the core, and most enjoyable reading! It was certainly a JOY to work with Mr. Paul Adderley in the Ministry of Education! He was a brilliant visionary leader who expressed his passion for his fellowman in most loving,respectful, humble, and compassionate ways! He loved life! We are thankful to God for the life of such a most Honorable Man who enhanced the life of many, many persons from ALL over! May he rest in peace and joy! Beverly J.T.Taylor, Science Educator/Administrator (1969-2007)

  3. God gave man three score and ten and by “reason of strength, four score”. I have never met Mr. Adderley, but his involvement with the PLP made me uncertain that this was the party to lead the Bahamian people……his character speaks for himself and the quality of leaders the Bahamas still needs…..which shows Mr.Christie is on the right track…

    Bahamas Press, do you proof read? Mr. Adderley would be chastising you on the grammer and punctuation in this article…… be careful. Mistakes take away the worth of your article…!

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