New Book Says British Colonial Office Called Sir Grantley Adams “Lazy, Lethargic”
The Trinidad & Tobago Express reviews a new book about the failure of the 1958 West Indies Federation. (link here)
From the T&T Express review of Colin Palmer’s new book: Eric Williams and the Making of the Modern Caribbean…
…Adams had been chosen as the Federal Prime Minister principally because both Williams and Jamaica’s Norman Manley did not stand for the federal elections in their respective countries. In Jamaica, Bustamante wondered how can “this insular Adams, who lacks sufficient imagination, do any good for the ten states, having ruled over pauperised Barbados for so long, obviously without realising the state of poverty there”?…
…But the British and the Americans also had little respect for Adams. He had “a somewhat sleepy exterior and is in fact lazy, though he has an agile mind, particularly in a political tight-spot” the Colonial office concluded in 1961, as it prepared for a meeting with him and British Prime Minister Harold McMillan. This, despite the conclusion that he had a reputation for polished urbanity and a rather old world charm. This report also found that after he had received red carpet treatment in Canada, reports had surfaced about his “growing irritability, swollen-headedness and a readiness to take offence”. Generally, the report concluded his position as the federal Prime Minister was “not wholly secure”…
Read the entire review (link here)
Our Take – We Love History, And We Will Read The Book
It is easy to criticize those who have passed on and cannot defend themselves. Indeed, it has become standard practice for historians to rip into dead national heros just to sell books. In the USA, Dr. Martin Luther King is now known as much for his supposed womanizing as – what else did he do? Oh, yes… was there something happened in Selma, Alabama, or was it Mississippi?
In Britain, Sir Winston Churchill’s bathroom and sleeping habits eclipse all else in some historical circles. FDR in World War Two? Ten martinis a day…. and by the way, wasn’t he in some way involved with the Barbados government and the Royal Navy? Had something to say about Pearl Harbor too, I think.
Fifty Years On – The Truth Changes… Or Maybe Just Sees The Light Of Day
The other side of the coin is that forty or fifty years later, people who witnessed history and historical figures can and will reveal all manner of things that could not be said at the time. Sealed documents are opened, private diaries are found and even the people involved in making history can see their own actions in a different light.
And now, especially with the sheer amount of new information available on the internet, each of us can examine multiple sources and make up our own mind.
Was Sir Grantley Adams “lazy and lethargic”? I don’t know, but I suspect that we would be better off if all Bajans today were as “lazy” as Sir Grantley!
The book review by the Trinidad and Tobago Express is well done, and both the review and the book itself are relevant and important today as we in Barbados continue our CARICOM dance.
Cliverton with Marcus