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Paul Lawrence Atherley
(7 March 1928 - )
The Honourable Paul Lawrence Adderley
Former Acting Governor-General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Paul Lawrence Adderley (15 August 1928 - 19 September 2012) was a Bahamian politician and lawyer. He served as acting Governor-General of the Bahamas from December 1, 2005, until February 1, 2006.

Early life and education

Paul Lawrence Adderley was born 15 August 1928, in Nassau, the second son of the late Hon. Alfred Francis Adderley, CBE, and Mrs. Ethel M. L. Adderley.

Adderley was educated at the late Mrs. Maude Wright's Primary School and at the Government High School.  He later attended St. Catherine's College, Cambridge University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in law in 1950 and an LL.B. degree in 1951.  He attended the Inns of Court Law Schools at the Middle Temple and was called to the English Bar and The Bahamas Bar in 1953.


Adderley was elected to a seat in the Western District in 1961, as a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) candidate. Uniquely, he was the fourth consecutive generation of his family to serve in the Bahamian legislature, having been preceded by his father, the Hon A.F. Adderley; and before that, by his grandfather, Wilfred Parliament Adderley; and earlier still by his great grand-uncle, William Campbell Adderley who was a member of the House of Assembly more than 130 years ago.

Adderley left the PLP in 1965 and established the National Democratic Party (NDP) political party.  However, he returned to the PLP in 1972.

On 1 March 1973, he was appointed Minister of External Affairs and his appointment on 10 July 1973, as Attorney-General followed 20 years of legal practice in The Bahamas.  This also made him the first Attorney-General of the newly-independent country.

Although he was defeated in the General Election of 1982, Mr. Adderley was appointed to the Senate as Government Leader and re-appointed Minister of External Affairs and Attorney-General.  During the October 1984 reshuffling of the Cabinet, Mr. Adderley was appointed Minister of Education and retained his appointment as Attorney-General.

In 1987, Mr. Adderley received the Progressive Liberal Party's nomination as a candidate for the St. Michael's constituency.  He won the House of Assembly seat in the 19 June 1987, general election.  He was reappointed Minister of Education and Attorney-General, and appointed Leader of the House.

When Prime Minister Pindling again reshuffled his Cabinet, in January 1989, Mr. Adderley was appointed Minister of Education and Minister of National Security.

In a subsequent reshuffle on 1 October 1990, Mr. Adderley was named Minister of Finance. 

As the longest serving Attorney-General of the 20th century – a period spanning some 17 years – Adderley engineered the transition of The Bahamas' colonial legal system into a new era of constitutional sovereignty while overseeing the modernization of our laws in so many vital areas of national life. In so doing, he also expanded the judiciary and helped deepen the Rule of Law as the bedrock of our civilization. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adderley was the primary architect of the nation’s foreign policy in the founding years of nationhood; a foreign policy based on mutual co-operation and friendship with our neighbours but always within the context of the principles of self-determination and sovereign independence. Adderley was absolutely determined that The Bahamas, though small, should preserve its integrity as an independent nation and never allow itself to be subjugated to any foreign power.

As Minister of National Security, Adderley was a courageous warrior against drug-trafficking. He was chiefly responsible for a wide range of anti-drug trafficking measures, including the OPBAT joint interdiction operations; the negotiation of mutual legal assistance treaties; and the introduction of a raft of new laws aimed at curbing the drug trade and bringing traffickers to the bar of justice. Concurrently, Adderley was responsible for sweeping changes to both the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force aimed at better equipping them to discharge their law enforcement mandates in the face of newly emergent crime threats.

As Minister of Education, Adderley introduced a raft of initiatives aimed at raising academic standards in the public school system. He restricted social promotion exercises and instituted the BGCSE examination system. He was also instrumental in expanding the Government’s building programme for new schools while instituting the Cadet Programme as a means of better preparing high school students for the transition into responsible life in the wider community.

As Minister of Finance, Adderley steered the country through the extremely difficult recessionary years of the very early 1990’s, insisting on austerity and fiscal discipline as a means of surviving the crisis. He served until August 1992.

Adderley also served as Acting Governor-General from 1 December 2005, to 1 February 2006.

Mr. Adderley had been associated with a number of public, civic and professional organisations.  He had been a member of the board of governors of St. John's College and Government High School and a member of the Telecommunications Board.

Personal life

Mr. Adderley married the former Lilith Rosena Thompson in 1960.  They had three daughters, Dr. Catherine Adderley, Dr. Rosanne Adderley and Paula Adderley.

An avid sports fan, Mr. Adderley played cricket, soccer and tennis in his university days.  He had been a secretary and vice-president of the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association.  In later life, he enjoyed the more leisurely hobbies of golf and photography, along with cultural endeavours.


Adderley died on 19 September 2012, aged 84, and was given a state funeral on 28 September.

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Paul Adderley
Occupation Politician
Date of Birth 15 August 1928
Place of Birth The Bahamas
Date of Death 19 September 2012 (aged 84)
Place of Death The Bahamas
Notable Accomplishments
Acting Governor-General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas: 1 December 2005 - 1 February 2006
Country profile The Bahamas
Governors-General of The Bahamas

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