BU Remembers The Late J.M.G.M "Tom" Adams

This is the 100th piece by BU after two months of blogging, how time flies!

We have tried hard as we have stated in our tag line to “bring the news to the people”. Some of our pieces so far have been controversial and we have had some emails where some people have strongly expressed negative feedback, but we have also had many notes of encouragement. The BU household discussed what we should record for our first significant milestone and at the end of it all it was left to me to decide.

Visitors to BU can decide very quickly that there is a fondness which we have for what is happening in the political arena. From my early school hood I have had a great affinity for the civics.

Enough of the preamble!

Our late hero The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow is to be admired for what he has done to transition Barbados from the colonial period to independence and onwards. Despite his achievements~free education and all, I have to admit that the politician who fanned my interest in political matters was the late Tom Adams. He has been described as many things but the apt description which I have heard that best described him was that of a political animal. If the standard of debate was high in our parliaments before Tom Adams, it rose by many notches when he was elected in 1976. People nowadays talk of Mia’s oratory skills but when I recall Tom Adams and his marathon and classic engagements with Taitt, Haynes, Barrow and others I have to say that there is no comparison in my book. The one memory which stands out is the ease with which he battered the loquacious and braggadocios Don Blackman into submission after he crossed the floor. Back in those days I know of people who recorded his public utterances to mail to relatives overseas, such was the colossal political stature of the man.

No discussion can be made about Tom Adams and not discuss some of his exploits outside of the lower house, some of which have become folklore around Barbados, no doubt embellished over the years.

Here are some stories posted on Barbados Forum, to say that some are hilarious would be understating it:

Once a policeman told me while on a mobile patrol in the St.George area, they came across a lady who was in a right state; torn clothes, disheveled and crying. She told the cops that she was beaten up by a man. She was put in the patrol car and asked to point out the house where the alleged offense took place. On identifying the house, the lady was dropped off like a hot potato and the cops beat a hasty retreat.

Tom was a brilliant, leader no getting away from it. But you have to admire/pity/ envy the nocturnal side of the man. A certain secretary very often had to come to work wearing dark glasses, to hide the black eyes compliments of Tom.

I knew a salesman, a big tall “red man” with a similar personality as Tom, only crazier. Always ready to bust somebody’s head. One night he was going through old St.Lawrence road, a taxi was park badly on one side, and this guy pulled up abreast of it knowing that he could not get past, easily. Switched off his engine, took his paper out and began to read, oblivious of the traffic building up behind him. One of the cars held up happened to be MP 1. When Tom knocked on the roof of his car and he looked up and saw Tom, in a split second the car was started and sped through the space that was too tight before.

You remembered Carifesta 1981, when the Government was a bit tardy in paying the privately owned Public Service Vehicles it had contracted to transport guest and participants between various venues? Remember how the owners kicked up a fuss, claiming that the government owed them a huge sum as their daily earnings were very high. Tom paid them shortly after, without much hesitation. Next year he leveled a tax on the PSV owners commensurate with the inflated earnings that they claimed from Government. To this day they are still complaining about the high taxes and levies they are required to pay.

You remembered the Mercedes Staff car MP2, which was assigned to Tom Adams, which apparently disappeared off the face of the earth? This was the one Tom took away from Don Blackman the then Minister of Transport, who apparently had done a Rommel Marshall with the Brazilian bus suppliers. It is said that the Brigadier had used MP2, whilst was parked out for target practice.

The circumstance of his sudden departure and the many stories which we have heard over the years can fill a book. The last story was that he was poisoned by an Asian lady who entered Barbados for one day and when she left so did Tom.

So there you are BU readers, I have given you an insight to who I think is responsible for massaging my interest in politics while at the same time providing a little humor…I hope. Although others have come close, Arthur included, in my opinion Tom Adams remains the political Goliath who is responsible for charting the transition to this modern economy.

14 thoughts on “BU Remembers The Late J.M.G.M "Tom" Adams

  1. I knew both Tom & the Dipper and can tell you that they had similar stories. Tom’s were more colorful. However, you miss the point completely. Both were astute politicians and the great country of Barbados was lucky to have them leading it at their relevant times.
    It is sad that there are no other politicians today with the integrity or political savvy to offer leadership to our great nation.

    May these two great past leaders rest in peace!

  2. Udo Xavier~due respect to you but I think you are missing my point which is “Tom Adams is the politician who fanned my interest in politics” please don’t make this political because it was not meant to be that kind of entry 🙂

  3. As Mr Tom Adams was in power and ruling with an iron fist this comment is timely as he had also to assist in the cover up that was involved in this case.
    I have seen in the papers where after many years of no action with regards to unsolved murders I see that Mr Dottin has stated that these cases have been reopened and he has a task force assigned to handle these cases.
    I raised this on this site about two weeks ago asking why was Mr Bryte St.John never charged with the murder of Mr Pele Parris??
    I know that much time has passed but when you are dealing with peoples lives justice needs to be done, and reopening and dealing with these unsolved murders gets my full support, maybe now without his father Bree around to full the party strings justice will finally be done.
    Does this new development also mean that they will fully investigate why it was that the PM Adams could die under unusual circumstances and never have a post mortem carried out?? Maybe if the body were to be exhumed it would still be in tack as if he was poisoned and new testing could be done to find out what poison was used to kill him!!!
    Or Maybe it was Miss Murphy that he beat with a garden hose and broke her hand that inflicted the punishment on him who knows what happened only beacuse they never permitted a post mortem to be performed.

  4. My humble opinion regarding the reason for NOT having a post-mortem carried out is that those persons who were in charge or with the decisionary power to allow the body buried without a post mortem knew all of the exact details surrounding the death of the PM

  5. The Tom Adams administration (1976 -1985)left Barbados with:

    -The Barbados National Bank
    -The Insurance Corporation of Barbados
    -The Arawak Cement Plant
    -The ABC highway
    -The Barbados Defence Force
    -The Central Bank Building with the Frank Collymore Hall
    -The Off-shore business sector and associated legislation
    The National Cultural Foundation (1983)
    -The present General Post Office buildings
    -tax incentives that made solar water heaters standard features of Bajan homes
    -Securities Exchange Act (1982) which created the Barbados Stock Exchange
    -the Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act
    – Heywoods Resort (now Almond Beach Village)
    -the present system of National Honours (1980)
    -the present campus of the Samuel jackman Prescod Polytechnic (1982)
    -the Barbados Drug Service (1980)
    -the first education development project financed by the World Bank which resulted in the building of St James Secondary (1979), Eden Lodge Primary(1980), LT Gay Primary(1982), Luther Thorne Primary(1983), St Patricks Primary(1983), Ellerton Primary(1983), West Terrace Primary(1984) St Joseph Primary (1985).
    -the Coastal Conservation Project Unit (1981).

    (and other initiatives that I cannot remember)
    These social, economic and physical institutions and activities among others have so transformed Barbados that it is hard to imagine a Barbados without them. Whatever one has to say about Adams, it is undeniable that his Government achieved an enormous amount in a relatively short time (9 years).

  6. Wishing in vain,

    “Does this new development also mean that they will fully investigate why it was that the PM Adams could die under unusual circumstances and never have a post mortem carried out?? Maybe if the body were to be exhumed it would still be in tack as if he was poisoned and new testing could be done to find out what poison was used to kill him!!!”

    Truss me; it will never happen. 😉

  7. What a bastard and a scamp this man was,most other places he would have been lost away in jail for his crimes be it woman beating or the drugs he took and allowed to flow freely thru these shores.
    Any ideas why he was not allowed back in the USA my guess is the drugs that he used and the ones he traded in and allowed free passage into the USA he was banned from entering the USA how many PM’s would that have happened to?? not even to lowly persons does that happen to but Adams managed it.
    He was nothing to be admired he was scum of the earth very much like what he brought into politics Owing Arthur another piece of scum that has stolen from us and taken corruption to new levels in this island.

  8. Wishing in Vain~seems to us that you need to report some of what you know to the Police. The man is dead and his case is not listed as unsolved so how can it be a cold case. Must be something good about the man you can say?

  9. Why do you think that the first Doctor that they brought to the scene refused to sign off on the death certificate and another one was called in ??
    These people being corrupt to the core for years, now they are just more blatant with their corruption.

  10. I know it’s almost two years since the last comment, but I stumbled accross this article while looking into something from the Adams Administration. Can someone give me the details surrounding the “Bring Back De Budget” saga? Were those his exact words?

  11. This man was very cruel; however,I loved to hear him speak.

    Are there any videos out there with any of his lectures/speaking?

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