Long-time lawyer Charles Adams dies

Mr. Adams was ‘a doer, not a talker’

Updated: Funeral services for the late Mr. Adams have been set for Tuesday afternoon.  

The service will be held at 3pm on Tuesday at Elmslie Memorial Church in George Town.  

Well past a decade after his heyday as a lawyer and trust company manager had gone, it’s difficult to find any aspect of the Cayman Islands that Charles Adams didn’t make a positive impact upon during his life.  

The veteran lawyer and trust manager died Thursday 
at age 92.  

“He’s really a loss,” said Cayman Islands attorney Anton Duckworth, whose firm Charles Adams, Ritchie and Duckworth still bears Mr. Adams’ name. “We are proud to carry on practising under his name. A great man for the country, he helped Cayman every day. He was a doer, 
not a talker.”  

Mr. Adams’s passing was noted Friday morning in the Cayman Islands Grand Court as Justice Alex Henderson called for a moment of silence after announcing that Mr. Adams had died the previous day. 

The judge said Mr. Adams was a prominent member of both the legal and banking professions in Cayman, coming here in 1966 from Jamaica as manager of Scotia Trust Company, the first trust company in the Cayman Islands. 

By 1972, Mr. Adams had established the Jacques Scott Group, which now employs 85 people, mostly Caymanians. Then, in 1976, Mr. Adams – a decade after he first came to Cayman – founded his law firm, Charles Adams and company, now Charles Adams, Ritchie 
and Duckworth. 

Mr. Duckworth said he didn’t join the Adams firm until 1991, when Mr. Adams, then a man of 70 years, decided he wanted to move toward retirement. To cement the partnership, Mr. Duckworth said the two took a “shooting trip” into the wilderness of Cuba.  

“We figured if we got on in those arduous circumstances, we’d be all right,” Mr. Duckworth said. “Charles was very keen in bird shooting and he was a very good shot.”  

Mr. Adams had many and varied interests. He was a founding member of the Legal Advisory Council and sat as a magistrate in Cayman for various periods between 1982 and 1999. He was a justice of the peace since 1987. He was also the islands’ sole recipient in 2007 of an “OBE”, Order of the British Empire honour, from the Queen of England.  

However, he may be remembered just as much, if not more, for his work to help the islands.  

Justice Henderson said Mr. Adams always devoted a great deal of time, energy, knowledge and a portion of his wealth to community interests.  

Mr. Adams had been a legal educator, legal draftsman, adviser on veterans’ affairs, and planning matters. He served as president of the Cayman Islands Law Society and was associated with establishing the Cayman Islands Law School.  

The man known as “the father of the bar” in the Cayman Islands legal profession, attorney Ramon Alberga, credited Mr. Adams for the “excellent relationship” that now exists between the Cayman Islands Law School and the University of Liverpool.  

Mr. Alberga said Mr. Adams was the “driving force” behind bringing in Peter Rowe with the university as the Cayman school’s first director. 

“He made a significant contribution to the administration of justice here in Cayman,” Mr. Alberga said.  

Mr. Adams was the founding chairman of the Cayman Islands National Museum and was instrumental in drafting the Museum Law (1979). He has also been involved with the National Trust, played a primary role in conducting a survey of wrecks in Cayman waters by the Institution of Nautical Archaeology, and was founder of the Goldfield Foundation, set up to bring back to Cayman an original Caymanian turtling schooner The Goldfield, discovered 
in Seattle. 

Mr. Adams also helped to form the Cayman Islands Veterans’ Association in 1979, and continued even into his later years, to serve as its honorary secretary – a position he held for more than 20 years. 

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