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Barbados Prime Minister Dies Of Heart Attack

March 12, 1985 GMT

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) _ Queen Elizabeth II was among those expressing shock today at the sudden death by heart attack of Prime Minister Tom Adams, internationally known for his pivotal role in the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada.

Adams died Monday at his home. He was 53. He was elected prime minister in 1976 and was re-elected in 1981.

″There was no intimation that he was ill. I cannot really believe the news is correct up to now,″ said Dominica Prime Minister Eugenia Charles, who with Adams and other regional leaders met with Canada Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in Jamaica last Feb. 25-26.


Bernard St. John, the 53-year-old deputy prime minister and longtime close associate of Adams, was appointed prime minister. The ruling Barbados Labor Party will meet sometime later to ratify the appointment or vote for a new leader. NationalElections are due in 1986.

Queen Elizabeth II sent a message of condolence today to Barbados, addressed to Sir High Springer, governor general of the former British colony, which said:

″I was very shocked to hear of the sudden death of the prime minister, and Prince Philip and I send our deepest sympathy to the government and people of Barbados.The distinguished service given by Tom Adams to Barbados and to the Commonwealth (of Britain and its former colonies) during nine years as prime minister will always be remembered.″

″Tom Adams was a leading figure in the political life of this region for more than a decade,″ said Jamaica Prime Minister Edward Seaga. ″His command of detail, his wit, and his deep commitment to the region ensured the respect and admiration of his colleagues.″

Adams was the son of one of Barbados’ national heroes, the late Sir Grantley Adams. He was known as a brilliant speaker and a strong believer in regional unity who advocated joint regional action to prevent destabilization attempts.

He went by his boyhood nickname of Tom. His full name was John Michael Geoffrey Manigham Adams.

Grenada’s highest officials recalled Adams’ role in the Oct. 25, 1983 Grenada invasion, following the execution of Marxist leader Maurice Bishop and a takeover by a radical Marxist military junta.

Grenada’s governor-general, Sir Paul Scoon, recalled sending a message to Adams asking for help. Adams then coordinated talks and strategy with the United States, Seaga, Dominica’s President Charles, and hosted a meeting of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States that led to the invasion.


Adams was with U.S. military and diplomatic officials at Grantley Adams International Airport as the invasion began. One end of the airport was used as a military command post, and U.S. transport planes and helicopters jammed the airport for the next week.

″He was the sort of man who would do anything to help another island in the Caribbean. He very honestly believed in West Indian unity,″ Scoon said Monday.

″He meant a great deal to Grenadians for the part he played to rescue us from our deep situation,″ added Prime Minister Herbert Blaize.

Barbados Governor General Sir Arnot Cato declared a week of national mourning and said Adams’ funeral would be Saturday.

Adams is survived by his wife of 22 years, Genevieve, and their two sons; Douglas, 21, and Rawdon, 16.