Rayside Construction Company:Why Did This Respected Black Owned Business Fail?
It was reported in the media last week that Senator Bynoe of “proppa pork” fame has commissioned a book which is scheduled to be released later this year and will examine the role government has played in the demise of several black businesses over the years. BU looks forward to the book launch because despite the boast of a wonderful educational system many of our black owned businesses are failing because the second generation of family appears to be more attracted to the Board rooms of BS&T and the like.
BU thought that we would focus on one such black owned business which has fallen from its pinnacle. We all remember in the 70s and 80s there were some very competitive battles between Rayside Construction and “COW” Construction. Do you remember that time when COW was not awarded a government contract which went to Rayside and he took the government to court[because of Don Blackman’s comment) and won? Those were the halcyon days when the black owned construction company headed by Keith Rayside stood tall and was a symbol of success which Barbadians felt proud to talk about. As a predominantly black nation we felt a sense of pride derived from when there was construction work to be had there was Rayside Construction Company to stop COW from getting it all. We felt as black people we were making strides.
The once mighty company in 2005 became so burdened with debt that it had to be acquired by CLICO, a private Trinidadian conglomerate.
What many Barbadians are asking is where did it all go wrong for Keith Rayside?
IT’S A DEAL
Published on: 11/12/05.
by ROXANNE GIBBS Executive Editor
CLICO HOLDINGS came to the rescue of about 300 striking (weekly-paid) workers at Rayside Construction Ltd yesterday, when it instructed the Barbados National Bank “to pay the workers”. The order came hours after CLICO Holdings signed a deal making it the company’smajority shareholder.
Just hours before the signing, work at the construction company in Green Hill, St Michael, came to a sudden stop after most of the workers walked off the job to protest non-payment of wages. “The situation bad,” said 47-year-old Lance Springer. Springer, who has worked for the company for over 17 years, said it wasn’t the first time he had gone to the bank and not been paid.
“This is not the first time this thing happening. I am not satisfied with the way they handling it at all,” Springer said. A source close to the company confirmed the deal was signed at about 2 p.m. yesterday, giving Clico Holdings “controlling shares”. “The deal is sealed,” said the source, “the workers will be taken care of.” Last week Friday the WEEKEND NATION reported that CLICO was the top bidder in a “buy-out” of Rayside. A day later the company responded that “Rayside is not in turmoil or not for sale”.
“The company is restructuring, which we believe is in the best interest of our workers, customers and suppliers. “We wish to assure the public that we will continue to be highly competitive, while offering impeccable service and the highest quality products,” the statement said. Keith Rayside Snr, the company’s founder who still heads the management team, told workers they would be paid by today.
But sources said last night that after the CLICO directive to the bank, several workers received their money. Efforts by the SATURDAY SUN to get further comment from Rayside manager Roger Gill were unsuccessful. Chief executive officer Marquita Rayside also declined to comment. President of CLICO Holdings, Leroy Parris, who is overseas, could not be reached.
Rayside, a leading road construction and quarrying company, started operations in Mason Hall Street, The City, in the 1940s before moving to Malvern Lodge, Green Hill, St Michael. The company has been responsible for major road projects, including Highway 2A and the Bridgetown Road Safety Improvement Project, which involved roads at Black Rock, Belleville, the Garrison and Roebuck Street. The company also completed a major project at Six Roads, St Philip.
(Assistance from Summi Hazlewood.)
When BU tried to answer the question it provided an interesting little story. It appears that the final nail in the coffin of Rayside Construction might have been hammered because of his affliction for making withdrawals from the hairy bank! Ever since his association to Marquita Butcher he has been seeing red, red and more red. Marquita Butcher whose reputation as a socialite given a marriage to ACME’s Frank Butcher and the jet setting Amor Mottley et al is up there on the social meter. The story is so mind boggling that it makes a sane person wonder how an intelligent business man would have succumbed to the foolishness which ultimately has led to the demise of his sixty something year old company.
It was not unusual for Barbadians to see all of the Butcher family – the sisters, the son and others driving around the Mercedes or the Jeep or taking trips overseas, all paid for by the company no doubt. An interesting side story is that during the period when Keith Rayside was smitten by Marquita’s love he alienated his blood family who had worked with him over the years to help build the company. So what happened next to this once successful black owned company? The original premise on which we built our investigation is that the extravagant lifestyle killed the company but amazingly we stumbled on the fact that there appears to be a side story which finally led to the demise of Rayside Construction.
It is no secret that Marquita and Beverly Arthur the former wife of Prime Minister Arthur were very close friends. It appears that when Beverly Arthur moved out of the Owen Arthur’s residence she found safe haven at the Rayside , Warrens household. When Arthur found out he was livid and for those who don’t know, PM Arthur had always had an affinity for old man Rayside because that’s the man who gave him a job when he was “scrunting” after he returned from Jamaica. We can all speculate that Rayside’s financial success in the good years might have been linked to reciprocity at play; we shall say no more. To make a long story very short, Rayside Construction after haemorrhaging under the Butcher tenure quickly died when Beverly Arthur went to live with her “beloved” Marquita Butcher.
The moral of this long story is that a successful black company was compromised and finally brought to its knees, not because of problems with the bank, but because of the old man’s desire for the love of a young woman old enough to be his daughter. Marquita was many years his junior, the disagreement with Prime Minister Arthur because he allowed his house to be a shelter for the “First Lady” was a big reason why it all when downhill for Rayside. Perhaps when Senator Bynoe’s book is released it will make mention of the role the female sex and sex have played in the demise of many black businesses. It is interesting to note that COW has divorced his first love of many years to marry into the HESS fortune_another young female!
What do they say again?
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