Barbados One Armed Bandits – A Little Bit Of History Remembered

barbados_slot_machines.jpg

Tom Adams, Nathaniel Natty Greene And The 1977 Slot Machine Scandal

When Senator Aaron Truss was arrested and then…

UPDATED: July 22, 2010

How many slot machines are there in Barbados? Who imports them? How much money do they make for the owners and the government? Is there any audit procedure actually used to confirm revenues and taxes owing? Do any government officials have shares in slot machines or gambling establishments?

We’ll be looking at some of those issues in a later article, but to get us in the mood here’s a story we first published in 2007…

We received the following from a reader. Let’s see if anyone else remembers the situation in the same way…

In this last week much has been said about the great contributions the late Prime Minister J.M.G.M. Tom Adams made to Barbados. What was not said was how he double-crossed and destroyed his senior civil servant, and I share this information as a warning to civil servants. Beware of their political masters.

In 1976/77, one armed bandits or slot machines, or illegal gambling, started to appear in Barbados. There was public outcry by Barbadians on the radio and in the newspapers against them. Tom Adams, Prime Minister, with much publicity, instructed Nathaniel Natty Greene to personally investigate and prosecute those persons bringing one-arm bandits into Barbados as they were illegal and against the laws of Barbados.

Nathaniel Greene carried out the Prime Minister’s instructions, and as investigations reveal, these illegal one-arm bandits were being brought into the island as used cash registers. Greene swore a complaint and obtained an arrest warrant for Aaron Truss, who was a senior member of the Barbados Labour Party, and served as a Senator, and Truss was arrested on the arrest warrant. When Greene told Adams what he had done, Adams told Greene that he was not proceed against Aaron Truss, and he shouldn’t give evidence against him in Court.

Greene pointed out that if he failed to give evidence, Truss could take civil or criminal action against Greene. Adams instructed Greene to have Jack Dear, Q.C., a senior BLP supporter to draw up a release which was to be signed by Aaron Truss that he would not take legal or civil action against Greene. Truss signed the release. That night Tom Adams went into Independence Square and addressed a political meeting, and told the public that Natty Greene, Comptroller of Customs, had acted illegally in arresting Truss, and that he Adams had to personally intervene to save Greene’s neck.

Greene was furious and went into the press and explained what had happened. He then resigned as Comptroller of Customs as he could not work under politicians like Adams.

Greene had over 30 years’ service in the public service in Barbados, and his early retirement affected his pension. He was a bitter man to the end.

62 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, History, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

62 responses to “Barbados One Armed Bandits – A Little Bit Of History Remembered

  1. wuh-loss

    Does this incident have a more modern parallel? If so, let us know. Civil servants of today have learnt their lessons and would not dare go after a Truss in the modern arrangement.
    Be warned, political affiliation is thicker than both blood and water.

  2. chickens coming home to roost

    The Chinese government is who our politicians are coziing up to with all their visits and diplomatic begging.

    Barbadians are willing to overlook repressive regimes who discriminate against blacks and christians because they have the right color—GREEN!

  3. caribdaily

    How do you use a slot machine as a cash register?

  4. Undertaker

    I was only a few years at that time, but I did hear a little of that story not that full thing though. I loved Tom for one thing his ability to challenge any one and his cunning ability, I believe that Owen has a lot of his ways like that. The ability to attack when threatened, or when cornered. Tom would have thought that Greene would have one on him and Truss so he had to try to discredit him. Greene seems to be a person like me, tries to defend their name at all cost. I admire people who don’t stand for any bul****t.

  5. Undertaker

    BFP – can you also give us the O”brien Trotman story, I understand he used to be trade unionist who was sticky out for an increase from the DLP, but when the BLP came to gov’t he took a lower percentage, sold out the union to the BLP (tom again) and became a senator and later a minister (health I think) etc. I am not sure if this is really true so can BFP or any of the readers correct me or share the true story? Also how many salaries does the man really get? Trade uionist pension? (maybe)Minister pension, Pension/contract payout from UDC, and not from tomorrow a Consulting fee (which should be no less than a ministers salary) surely more that the new UDC’s head salary. But the funny thing is who will the staff really see as the boss? Monday’s new boss or Friday’s old boss/new consultant? The man seems to love power, and I can’t see him just giving up/handing over the reigns like that, but I may be wrong – please enlighten me. Until……..

  6. Undertaker

    caribdaily – it is all in the tarriff classification.

  7. Anonymous

    Nat Green was only one of many people tom adams distroyed. He sent or almost sent Vic Fernandes to the mental hospital when he took away vic’s first wife. He had Prime Minister Ralph Gonzales declared persona non grata because the two of them were fighting for the same woman. He LOVED to beat his women including a certain Minister of state from St. Thomas. Many women suffered broken arms from him. Don’t forget his cocaine use.

  8. Undertaker

    The government will let Rommell Marshall sink/bury himself because they want to get rid of him. They wanted to put Edghill in his place, but he would not retire, and the council would not accept no one but him, so the bigups in the part had no choice. He will NEVER get another ministry they only want him to get the seat back. Which he still seems possible of doing, cause his challenger is strong but I don’t think that strong. Regardless of what he did at the time(when he had a ministry) he was/his the best minister of Transport that we had in a long time, certainly better that Clarke or Payne. By far. I think he did far less wrong than some of the others, just maybe the way he did it, and did not have certain backing like the others……..

  9. Wishing in Vain

    Anonymous
    There is a strong school of thought that has been around for a long time and it is that he could not travel back to USA because of his involvement in the drug trade by allowing drugs to transit thru these shores enroute to the USA and that he had his visa cancelled because of this, Adams and his personal side were disgusting when he could run a girlfriend around naked in Brighton and put licks enough in her to the extent that he broke her arm a Murphy was the person.
    He was a drug snorting pervert, gambler by night and a PM by day.
    There are some serious links between these two ever understood where Owing picked up the habit of calling people at all hours of the night to cursde them stink ala Adams style exactly.

  10. Wishing in Vain

    Undertaker On the scheme of things nowadays the $ 500,000.00 that Marshall stole is mere chicken feed to what these guys are stealing now a quick check will reveal over $ 400 million in only two projects the triple the cost prison, the triple the cost 3S Danos affair and road works is another example would be enough to make you want to vomit.
    And the short idiot saying that he wants 15 more years for what so that nothing is left of this island but every inch sold to non nationals that prevent nationals from getting to the beaches?
    I want people to ask Mike Pemberton when his project is completed if locals will be granted access to the beach!!

  11. Citizen First

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

    -The Barbados National Bank (1978)
    -The Insurance Corporation of Barbados (1978)
    -The Arawak Cement Plant (1984)
    -The ABC highway
    -The Barbados External Telecommunications Inc. (1984) this was sold to Cable and Wireless by the Sir Lloyd Sandiford administration
    -the Barbados Water Authority act (1980)
    -the Bridgetown Sewage treatment plant
    -The Barbados Defence Force (1979)
    -The Central Bank Building with the Frank Collymore Hall
    -The Off-shore business sector and associated legislation such as Offshore Banking Act(1979); Foreign Sales Corporations Act (1984)
    -The National Cultural Foundation (1983)
    -The present General Post Office buildings at Cheapside
    -tax incentives that made solar water heaters standard features of Bajan homes
    -Securities Exchange Act (1982) which created the Barbados Stock Exchange
    -the Companies Act (1982)
    -the Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act (1980) which revolutionised the land tenure system of Barbados
    -the Barbados Property Act (1979) which totally modernised the system of property law and conveyancing which had been in effect since 1891!
    – Heywoods Resort (now Almond Beach Village)
    -the present system of National Honours (1980)
    -the present campus of the Samuel jackman Prescod Polytechnic (1982)
    -the National Training Board (1979), this is now called the Barbados Vocational Training Board
    -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) which is now the Coastal Management Unit
    -the National Council for Science and Technology(1977)

    (and many other initiatives that I cannot remember)
    These social and economic institutions and activities and the infrastructural work 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).

  12. Thistle

    Wishing in Vain:

    It was not just “a school of thought” that Tom Adams was banned from entering the U.S.A. after being caught with drugs at an airport there. It was reported as FACT in the Australian newspapers, large as life. Not a peep out of this lot here though!

  13. As far as I recall, Ralph Gonsalves was pelted out of here as his newspaper articles of that day were deemed seditious/Communistic (post-Grenada ’83, I think) – rather ironic now seeing how as SVG’s leader he is so buddy-buddy with Barbados

  14. Citizen First

    I submitted a post last night which is being held for moderation. What is the problem with the post?

  15. Thistle

    My comment, with information for WIV is still “awaiting moderation”.

  16. Anonymous X

    BFP,
    I have been unable to post the below under the relevant section.

    WIV,
    I was reliably informed that the Managing Director of Hardwood Housing Factory Inc has been sexually molesting women for some time. He was caught fondling and sucking the breast of one woman. Others afterwards complained and called the BWU.

    Sir Roy was involved in representing at least one woman who sought or is seeking compensation after reinstatement. Seems that Sir Roy is negotiating the compensation. The Police was called in and Clyde has so far been instrumental in keeping them at bay.

    If this becomes public knowledge and there is an insistence that the police arrest this man it will be a serious blow against Clyde and the BLP.

  17. Wishing in Vain

    Anonymous X
    Is this not really a sad statement of the way things are done in Barbados?
    How come you and I and many others know many of the facts pertaining to this fiasco of the molestation of these three workers, why is Trotman even involved is beyond me this a simply a matter for the police to take in hand and charge the man, no questions asked no excuses given he needs to be taken before the courts and his case heard and tried, not rumored and and discussed if he has done illegal actions he needs to face the courts simple as that.

  18. Hey

    Wow! Things are getting hot! hot! hot!
    Tom’s legacy always facsinated me.
    Can I have some more info. please?

  19. Anonymous X

    WIV,
    The women are members of the BWU.

  20. Thistle

    Hey:

    I posted some very relevant information on Tom Adams earlier this morning, but it seems as if it’s still “awaiting moderation”. If I don’t see it soon, I’ll send it again.

  21. Anonymous X

    WIV,
    Apparently the women referred to above had actually been dismissed. Sir Roy was instrumental in getting them reinstated.

  22. Wishing in Vain

    They got fired because they refused to be molested and raped !!!
    What an island we live in this corruption is at all levels of society, where are the police in this case? Sleeping I assume!!!!

  23. John

    Came across this Article in the Nation last week!!

    “THE TOM ADAMS ERA is treated as the Forgotten Decade, according to Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

    Speaking at the Third Annual Tom Adams Memorial Lecture entitled: Fulfilling The Adams Land Legacy, Arthur said it was regrettable Adams’ legacies had “not been accorded the admiration and respect that they undoubtedly deserve”.

    “The political era 1976 to 1986 was in fact one characterised by extraordinary achievements on all fronts, and one that has left permanent and highly beneficial legacies that have greatly enriched life in Barbados,” he said.

    Arthur said it was because of the island’s second prime minister that there were wage increases for workers, diversification in export and economic growth.”

  24. John

    ….. no wonder it is the forgotten decade!!

  25. snowcone

    An amazing story on Tom Adams double crossing of comptroller Natty Greene. I was very young but heard stories about slot machines and Aaron Truss. I see why Owen did not include the introduction of slot machines in his lecture on Tom contributions to social capital. The hundred blp stooges may have witheld their great supportive applause

  26. Hey

    Thistle,

    Thanks. I’m waiting, and pregnant with aticipation.

  27. JGMGA

    no doubt about it, as a governmental authority and politician tom was a great man. but he was a man of extremes and as very good as he was in his public life he was also very bad and evil in his personal life and many a girl/lady/woman/slut could attest to that.tom used to beat woman like how you and i have hot meals! that is no exaggeration.broken arms seemed to have been a speciality of his. remember the pretty indian girl who used to do the cbctv news at 7. she had her arm broken,like so many others.
    oh tom was cute alright!
    i’ve often postulated that the possibility exists(although unlikely?) that he may have been assassinated via the white devil powder he partook of, in that a new supply of pure content may have been presented as a weaker than normal content,with the suggestion that more might be necessary..but thats a bit farfetched,just a remote possibility. far more likely he simply had an afternoon coronary or cardiac malfunction due to quite normal ingestion and popped it, blue on the floor they found him. always remember that the widow said there was to be no post mortem. she knew damned well just why there was to be no post mortem to such a sudden and unexpected death. we can only hope now for history to repeat itself and quickly.

  28. Thistle

    Hey:

    What I had written in reply to WIV was that it was not just “a school of thought” that Tom Adams was banned from re-entering the U.S.A. It was FACT, and it was reported in the Australian newspapers that it was due to his involvement with drugs, but of course it was not in the Barbados newspapers.

  29. Wishing in Vain

    One also remembers his first act of dishonesty as a Prime Minister with the Cubana crash which crashed less than 5 miles off shore but was deemed to have crashed 12 miles offshore so as to prevent him from having to deal with the implications of international law, remembe the first vessel on the scene was the Jolly roger returning for its afternoon cruise they saw the aircraft go into the water on their way back to Bridgetown now I and you know that the Jolly Roger never ventured 12 miles offshore maybe a mile or 2 but certainly no more, 12 miles would have taken them 4 hours to reach the site of the crash, we are so often fed with a long spoon and we take it same with Owing and these corrupt projects that he and Nicholls have stolen from the taxpayers but they are appearing saintly, what crooks and liars.

  30. Anonymous

    you may or may not be right in your statement that jroger was 1st on the scene. she was certainly within sight to see the whole happening,and many aboard were later questioned as to the aerial behaviours that were seen (basically it was hydraulic failure..I spoke a few weeks later to an AC Capt. who thus opined).
    willie hassel at paradise watersports called ashore his hydrodyne skiboat as a matter of urgency,jumped in it and was very quickly out there, and took triangulation marks for future reference.
    he may truly have been the 1st on the scene…of the oil slick..
    water depth around 1,800ft. do the math re. territorial or not, but it certainly wasn’t 12 mi. off shore,more like 5 as stated. there was considerable recollection of the event via a thread at the caribalpa site, if you want to go there and search, it will come up since it happened around oct. last year there were many valuable contributions, some not pretty but very factual.

  31. Dear Virginia,

    How do you use a slot machine as a cash register?
    —————–
    you dont/cant. you merely import it as such, and as long as blind eyes are turned/not-turned to the actual contents of the crate, said cash registers pay a cash register duty and enter the country. seems you dont know how to do business in this neck of the woods. its what is declared, not what it actually is.

  32. theNickster

    So Owen wants to emulate Barrow (D) and Thompson wants to emulate Adams (B) I see. So a (B) is a (D) in drag and a (D) secretly yearns to be a (B), that explains Mascoll’s walk. Still think voting (B) or (D) will change things?

    -The Barbados National Bank (1978) Sold
    -The Arawak Cement Plant (1984) Sold
    -The ABC highway (snicker)
    -The Central Bank Building with the Frank Collymore Hall (ironically the ownership of the brick and mortar is ours but who controls it not from ’round here)
    -the Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act (1980) which revolutionised the land tenure system of Barbados (this still functions?)
    – Heywoods Resort (now Almond Beach Village) (speaks for it self yes?)
    -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). (a good thing on the surface but what were the strings?)
    -the National Council for Science and Technology(1977) (you got me on this one)

  33. Anonymous

    I was working at Paradise Beach Hotel when the plane went down and Willie Hassel was the first, in his boat, on the scene. I watched as the plane hit the water, skimmed along on the surface and then disappeared.

  34. Anonymous

    Can anyone remember why Lionel Craig was arrested at the airport with a load of cocaine? Tom personally intervened and the Police had to realesed to Lionel Craig. I do not know what happened to the cocaine.

  35. Anonymous

    Mike Parks.

  36. Anonymous

    Anonymous, interesting to hear your account. never knew about the skimming part. always thought the hydraulics failed, which put it nose-up, whereupon it stalled, then tilted nose down into a plunge and that was it..straight down,
    and straight down again into 1800ft of water.
    i didnt see it but you did. care to elaborate further ?

  37. 2hot2handle

    oh dear what a pity the computer stole that interesting post by one mikeparks i thought his bio would have interested many. maybe a lil dig around in the trash bin at wordpress might titillate unless the mention of his name is 2hot2handle even for bfp??

  38. ohthestories

    not2mention blackhead whose container of muffler parts get skinout in whitepark and ooops look de ting dey. fortunately someoneSimmons got him of the hook a handy cuzzin i believe. back in demdays anyting coulda pass and did but not now

  39. OH NO!

    ohthestories, you are wrong to far up whitepark u seem full of gas maybe you need to change your tyres

  40. Anonymous

    After Willie went out to the crash site other boats that were anchored off Paradise joined in the effort. They brought ashore clothes, suit cases, money and I remember a big black wheel but no bodies or body parts. These items were taken to Willie’s dive shop which situated at Paradise Beach Hotel.

  41. Anonymous

    Can anyone remember that it was Tom Adams who created the term “voluntary idle” he used this term to reduce the unemployment figures during his regime.

  42. Anonymous

    as i recall t.blackhead owned both the muffler shop and gas station/s in that area.

  43. OH NO!

    Chk again

  44. Anonymous

    COURTESY GARAGE on the corner????

  45. Undertaker

    Ok, everyone know the Tom story. What about the O’brien Trotman Story that I asked yesterday? Anyone? – “BFP – can you also give us the O”brien Trotman story, I understand he used to be trade unionist who was sticky out for an increase from the DLP, but when the BLP came to gov’t he took a lower percentage, sold out the union to the BLP (tom again) and became a senator and later a minister (health I think) etc. I am not sure if this is really true so can BFP or any of the readers correct me or share the true story? Also how many salaries does the man really get? Trade uionist pension? (maybe)Minister pension, Pension/contract payout from UDC, and not from tomorrow a Consulting fee (which should be no less than a ministers salary) surely more that the new UDC’s head salary. But the funny thing is who will the staff really see as the boss? Monday’s new boss or Friday’s old boss/new consultant? The man seems to love power, and I can’t see him just giving up/handing over the reigns like that, but I may be wrong”

  46. Wishing in Vain

    Trotman ran the campaign to get Owing elected in St.Peter after the floods he and Arson Trash spent money like peas giving away fridges, stoves, beds and lots of money to get him into the house, it is my belief that he has some serious things holding for Owing hence Owing will never ruffle his feathers the stories will come tumbling out in public.
    You must remember that Owing drank hard in those days he was a functioning drunk and womanised badly in those days not saying that he does not do so now ask Nicholls about the women he arranges for Owing and himself,
    but in those days a hotel manager / owner was seeing after Beverly and Owing was rampant and wild like his mentor Adams you can put two and two together.

  47. The one arm bandits story is true I use to work on James St in that time his brother leon use to operate a cook shop on the top of James st and those building were gutted by fire rather suspiciously

  48. Anonymous

    ‘wishing in vain’ where did you find that it was deemed 12 miles off shore?

    Even wikipedia says only 8km from “seawell”

  49. Wishing in Vain

    Anonymous
    Because Adams in an effort to avoid persuing the international laws of the seas he declared it to be outside our zone of 10 miles and he stated it was in international waters at 12 miles.
    wikipedia says only 8km from “seawell” think about this statement on its course over the land on departure from Seawell 8 km would have put it down somewhere on the island and not out to sea not everything that you read on those sites are gospel it was about 3 – 4 miles inf that much when she went into the water, think of the route that the Jolly Roger uses to and from Bridgetown it is never 5 miles actually no more than a mile offshore and the crash was along their route back to Bridgetown.
    That was Adams first act of dishonesty and many more followed.

  50. Thistle

    Can anyone remember Tom Adams saying in a Parliamentary Debate concerning foreign wives of Bajan men that the foreign wives should be granted full national status because what Bajan man would want a Bajan woman over forty!

  51. Anonymous

    “wishing” I think you missed my point.

    I cant find any official record stating 12 miles so I was asking your source.

    If this was an act of dishonesty by Adams, it appears not to be successful

  52. Wishing in Vain

    The source is TOM ADAMS speech to adress the issue and the records of the house will also show this to be the case.
    My friend 8km from the airport would be putting it down on the island it was never 8 km from Seawell could never have been you are being misled and you are wrong in your asumption that your source is reliable in this case it is not.

  53. Anonymous

    8km. 8 miles all the same thing to an american at wikipedia

  54. Anonymous

    Arson Trash?
    sounds like a cool name for a death metal band!

  55. More about "Tom"

    Thistle,
    You’ve given some good facts. I want to put in my little bit:
    During his reign the civil service was in a state of fear – You had to be careful who you spoke to and what you said. He was an expert in “special deliveries” – letters of dismissal. I believe he patterned his life “JR Ewing” of the movie DALLAS.
    Personally
    ————-
    The man was orator extraordinaire. One of the best speakers in this part of the hemisphere – but he was cruelly vindictive. He was a political savage whose political and power reach knew no boundaries.
    Death
    ——–
    There were so conspiracy theories on how he died. But is obvious that as a avid student of COKE his heart became weak and “just stopped”
    Mentor
    ———-
    This current PM has him as his mentor. No doubt the reason why he spoke of Tom in such glowing terms last week. Remember when he was brought back from JA? It was Tom who brought him to Bdos.
    It is also no wonder why he has so many of the negative traits of Tom.
    Personal belief
    ——————–
    I seriously believe that if Tom had not died Barbados would have suffered. As the Dipper said shortly after Tom died: “He taught us how not to abuse power….”.
    Common sense
    ———————–
    Politicians should understand that they are there for a short time. Instead of trying to squeeze every cent from the Treasury for themselves, family and close friends – do what you can to help all and sundry. Don’t abuse your power.
    WE NEED TO GIVE THIS CURRENT BUNCH A REST!

  56. Wishing in Vain

    More about “Tom”
    I support your comments he was the second most wicked leader this country has endured the first is presently in office at this time, at least Tom did not steal away 1/2 a billion dollars to his personal bank accounts his was chicken feed compared to this lot this lot has created the blue print for corruption and stealing.

  57. Shrek

    Tom Adams built the Central Bank. Much of what he did I find very admirable, and I don’t mind saying so.

  58. Anonymous

    and when JMGMA died,and Bree was told Batter UP! he tried to duck out! didn’t want that post.
    Too late,bud, that’s what Deputy PM is all about!
    Bree was not happy. Stella was, but not Bree

  59. nhjr5n8

    Shrek, you are quite right. no-one is all good or all bad. Tom was brilliant, a real futurist. were it not for him, we would only NOW be building a cross-island hiway.
    Much of our more modern infrastructure today was his brainchild: he pushed it “ahead of its time” as most backward Bajans saw it, at the time!

    It was his personal side that we pick apart today, but as a politician, he’s probably the best we ever had.
    he was still an evil bastard,however.
    Funny how one can have such extremes of character, but that’s life and it takes all kinds to fill the freeway!
    Look at Hitler: LOVED HIS DOGS!
    I’m sure O$A has his good side,too, as do we all!
    No-one is all-good or all-bad. No-one…not even O$A – he goes to church these days: thank you Second Wife!

  60. Bimsha Boy

    caribdaily
    October 1st, 2007 at 12:37 am

    How do you use a slot machine as a cash register?

    Don’t they collect stupid people CASH and REGISTER it with the owner? 🙂

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