Just like Tom

Walcott signals a dividing line in Opposition party

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur came in for more praise last night than the party he recently turned his back on, for honouring the legacy of late Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader and prime minister Tom Adams.

Delivering the seventh Tom Adams Memorial Lecture on Thursday night, the party’s General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott appeared publicly to have buried the proverbial “political hatchet” with Arthur, who recently quit the BLP on July 25, 2014, claiming that the Opposition party had lost its soul.

BLP’s General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott
BLP’s General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott

Therefore, instead of any vilification of Arthur, who was seated at the back of the room, Walcott held the record of the former prime minister aloft, describing the now independent parliamentarian as the closest thing to a “Tom Adams”.

Walcott, who was earlier introduced by the recently unsuccessful BLP candidate Asokore Beckles after Arthur’s former assistant Mackie Holder issued the official welcome at last night’s lecture, recalled that Arthur had pledged in a parliamentary debate immediately following Adams’ passing that “everything I shall do in public life will be to the glory and the credit of the investment he [Tom Adams] has made [in me]”.

“It is fair to say Arthur, in this respect, kept his word. He has so far come closest to fulfilling the promise of the Tom Adams model, and in so doing becoming the outstanding politician of his generation,” Walcott told the large gathering at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.

At the same time – and with party leader Mia Mottley seated among the stalwarts in the front row – Walcott delivered a nasty jab at his own BLP, saying it was as guilty as any for not ensuring that Adams got the type of national recognition he deserves.

BLP members from left, Pat Parris, Senator Santia Bradshaw, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, Asokore Beckles and Owen Arthur’s former assistant Mackie Holder at last night’s lecture.
BLP members from right, Pat Parris, Member of Parliament Santia Bradshaw, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, Asokore Beckles and Owen Arthur’s former assistant Mackie Holder at last night’s lecture.

“It is a blight on our politics and democracy – and the greatest absurdity in our history – that the work and worth of Tom Adams has been lost to the murky machinations of political forces,” he said in his 45–minute presentation.

“Let us not make any bones about it. There is enough blame to go around,” he added.

Walcott, who is also an Opposition Senator and the former BLP Member of Parliament for Christ Church South, stressed that the BLP could not be absolved from the failure to recognize the contribution of Adams, who served as Barbados’ second Prime Minister from September 8, 1976 until his death on March 11, 1985.

At the time, his death came as a major blow for the BLP, which lost the reins of Government a year later.

It would therefore be another ten years before the party could successfully reclaim the Government. However, Walcott is peeved that in the 14 years that followed, from 1994 to 2008, the then governing BLP administration did not see it fit to commit a lasting monument to his memory.

“It is the most singular discredit to our matchless legacy that we have allowed this dismissal of such a superior intellect, and non–attribution of his accomplishments to take root,” said Walcott, calling it a “travesty” that must be reversed.

“Tom Adams must be accorded his rightful and magnificent place in our history,” he maintained.

Taking a separate jab at the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government, Walcott said, “Barbados requires this application of intellect of the Tom Adams model rather than what has been our lot for the last seven or so years. Intelligence without ambition is wasted.”

The General Secretary described Adams as the man who, “had a comprehensive blueprint for the development of Barbados and Barbadians”.

He continued, “Every component of Barbados was transformed by the vision of Tom Adams. Indeed, the revolution was so complete that today almost every aspect of life that we enjoy is due to the realization of Tom Adams’ vision. It is summed up in the BLP’s motto, A Better Life for Our People.

8 Responses to Just like Tom

  1. Phil September 24, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Let us also not forget his remarkable skill at character assassination. Remember Irene, when she used to write articles in the Nation, then there is his negrocrat friend Harold and more recently Mia. And how can we forget sweetcakes.

  2. seagul September 24, 2016 at 8:44 am

    If only the politicians of B’dos can stop imitating these character assassination personalities of the U.S and concentrate on the running of the economy…if only Jack sparrow was a true Caribbean pirate.

  3. Alex Alleyne September 24, 2016 at 11:01 am

    “POLITRICKS” in its true form.

  4. Ejd September 24, 2016 at 11:38 am

    One should note tha Arthur was the Prime Minster for 14 years. Therefore any failure of the BLP to recognize Tom would have to be his.

  5. Tommy September 24, 2016 at 11:58 am

    The extent to which Mr Adams remains in the minds and hearts of Barbadians is due to one reason or the other. It should not be neccessary for the political class to foist his memory on the populace. My formative years where during the period when the Mighty Gabby was frequently banned from the airwaves (along with anyone else thought to be a detractor). I grew to love Gabby as one who fought on my behalf against a perceived tyranny. Enough said.

  6. Greengiant September 24, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Jerome at his best. He should be employed by FENCEIT as chief maintenance officer, what a great and admirable effort to mend the broken fence with Arthur. Complimenting him for his efforts to promote the Tom Adams model of development and cleverly criticizing him for promoting his personal legacy instead of that of Adams. I wish the B L P well but they need to move on from Arthur, reunite in the eyes of the electorate and stay focused on the job required to lead the country. To do better than the current government may not be good enough for the people as there will always be a political decided plus those who are easily swayed.

    • Coralita September 24, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Lololololololol “employed by FENCEIT as chief maintenance officer”.

      Awesomely stated!!!

  7. Ann Thomas September 24, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    I really wonder which lecture this Barbados TODAY reporter attended. What a simplistic interpretation or misinterpretation of what was said.

    Barbados TODAY please do the pubic of Barbados a service by reprinting the complete text of Dr. Walcott’s speech so that Barbadians who did not attend the lecture could make up their minds for themselves.


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