Monday, April 15, 2024

REMEMBERING TOM: A prime minister’s words


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The following are excerpts from speeches made by former Prime Minister Tom Adams.

In the House of Assembly – January  1977: “Neither did I say I would not sleep there in case a baccoo was left to stop me from sleeping at night … I just chose not to live at ‘Culloden Farm’.” – During a denial of Mr. Errol Barrow’s charge that he (Adams) would never move into Culloden Farm.

November 1976: “I regret that I cannot reply to any respect of the remarks made by the leader of the opposition. When he makes a speech of substance, then I will reply to him. – During a debate of the development plan.

January 1977: “You cannot go on having an open sore. It must be dealt with as directed by the doctor.” – During debate of the proposed removal of the clerk of the House of Assembly.

April 24, 1977: “It only remains to say that I urge the public to see these machines for what they are, a means of spending money quickly. Once it is understood that they are amusement machines, designed to occupy the player for half-an hour until his quarters run out; there ought not to be any expectation of getting money quick.” – About the one-armed bandits.

May 1977: “I left sixth form a long time ago and third form for an even longer time. I can’t get back down there with any comfort.” – Commenting on the level of debate in the House of Assembly.

On controversial calypsos of 1983 – July 1983: “I was unfamiliar with the song Boots, but was able to identify it by a chorus of left-right-left-right. And while familiarity with the song Mr. T is limited, I have been told that the offensiveness of the lyrics is as nothing compared to the general publicity given to the subject of this composition.”

On the Press – July 1984: “I really want no quarrel with the Press because I believe the Press in this country has some very good instincts and principles. In any case, it is not the whole Press who at the moment are serving Barbados badly in the way news is reported and handled.” – St. Peter by-election.

July 1984: “You have to be absolutely sure when you read the Advocate newspaper that you are reading reports of Parliament reported by a supporter of the Democratic Labour Party. I have complained about that until I am stupid. When you read THE NATION you read a fair account of what happened in Parliament. I must tell you that. For the main part, the NATION reports what people say and gives a proper space and balance to the debate in Parliament.” – St. Peter by-election.

February 1985: “Well I suppose that politicians on the whole are never completely satisfied with their own Press, but I think I can say that I have been fairly treated. There have been one or two instances recently which I would much rather not have happened, but apart from those instances where the Press found it perfectly acceptable to question the Prime Minister’s integrity and motives, but could not accept equal scrutiny from the Prime Minister, our relationship has generally been an amicable one.” – Interview in the Bajan.

On Sydney Burnett Alleyne – December 1978: “The government of Barbados has no intention of being intimidated by 20th Century pirates. It is not the first time during our two years in office that such plots have been hatched or reported.” – announcement to the Press.

On a regional Defence Force – January 1984: “My feeling is that one regional army rather than a number of national armies would give us an additional safeguard, namely the protection of small governments against their own armed forces.”

March 1985: “I am not sure now, seeing the strength of feeling (in Opposition), that I would support the idea of committing forces to a single organisation.”



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