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.