The Section Of Barbadian Society That Suffers In Dignified Silence

Submitted by Yardbroom

The professionals, civil servants, those who have attended the right schools and know people of influence so that they can get a pick – employment – need not concern themselves…the living is easy, they have become satiated.  It is true there is a black Government, media in the main, police force and a thick wedge of black middle class…of those I do not write.  Their bread is well buttered and often-times they take a dollop of “cream” to underscore the point.

I speak of the many unemployed young men on the block and not only in the term of this Government, as this submission is “not party specific” as it includes the tenure of both major political parties who have held power.  The single women, some with and without children who live in genuine fear that they might lose their little pick, the taxi and PSV drivers, hawkers, street vendors, domestics and others in the service sector.  Those in agriculture and others too numerous to enumerate here.  Whose wages are always just a few dollars short of what is required to manage adequately each week.

They have been marginalised and woefully neglected, because they are not in the top band of educated classes.  They do not have the leverage to attain real independence which comes through employment.  That avenue in reality is not open to them for reasons I have already stated.  When some educated ones, who boast of their achievements eschew forth; I say “talent is nothing, the most important is moral greatness”.  It is this we need to galvanize those who lead our people “all” of them.

Someone recently wrote: “everything in Barbados is fine only last night I passed Chefette and the place was full”.  We are now reduced to measuring real success and prosperity by a plate of chicken wings and fries.  With this thinking we will always be short of the mark.

The question is often asked, why can foreigners who come to Barbados be so successful; while Barbadians in the strata of which I write cannot attain.  Are Barbadians lazy, lack motivation and the myriad of other epithets given, which contribute to a perceived inertia.  No!  The perception is that people of a specific class and social standing are not worthy of certain privileges and rights.  They are mostly ignored…solicited only at general elections.  Their aspirations for work and other opportunities are denied not on the basis of what they can do, but on criteria such as where they went to school, who their parents are, where they live and other irrelevance in ascertaining suitability.

Do I write an untruth? even people of proven worth and attainment are often told they only went to this or that school; not only as a social put-down but as an indicator that he/she is not worthy of an exalted position.

As a result we have governance of the many, by the few, for the few.

The mistake often made by some, is that black people in Barbados are a homogeneous group, with the same aspirations, opportunities and avenues to advancement as each other…that is a mistake of gigantic proportions.

Our view of each other has been inculcated, by a system of our own making influenced by the opinions of others, fostered on us.  Therefore we speak to those we consider of a lower class with much hubris.

We should treat each other with respect and break free of the shackles circumscribed for a certain section of our society.  There needs to be a serious “debate” as to if the disadvantaged in our society are given the opportunities they rightly deserve.  My point is that the section of disadvantaged in our society is too large and the influence and wealth of a “few” clouds and superficially obscures their existence.

We need a plan – if there is one I see no evidence of it – a long term plan, of where we as a country need to be in fifty years time, and how we hope to get there.  We are and should think of ourselves as one people, the silly class divisions, which we artificially construct are blown away in the dust when we leave the cocoon of Barbados and have to compete overseas.  It is then perform or push off, class or school matters not “performance” does…it is as simple as that.

Part of the solution is to discard the dependency culture.  We should not expect our elected representatives to get us a house.  We should expect him/her to advance policies with an employment agenda so we can obtain work.  I do not want to depend on him/her favours I want to be out of the dependency culture, I want to be an independent citizen.  Enabled to plough my own furrow in the world.  Thus ensuring I can be of benefit to my family who is “my” responsibility.

We should want our elected representatives not to ask which party we support or be expected to be told, but to see us as one of his constituents.

We have divided ourselves and we are the weaker for it, we have taken on the mantle of our previous oppressors and thus we have held our own people back from the mature development that comes to a free people.  We must not only be free but be seen as free, from the invisible chains that shackle a large percentage of our indigenous people through divisions of class, sown in the past and now continued by “us” in the present.

Too large a percentage of poor black Barbadians are in a strata of society predisposed to drift and that is expected of them.  A facade has been fabricated, when it is said that everything is fine because a few can dine on chicken wings and fries in the evenings at Chefette.  I am forced to conclude we have lost our moral compass and do not fully understand the aspirations of a proud people.

56 comments

  • The submitter once reasoned in another submission that the poor our those of whom he speaks of presently ‘should live within there means’ . For those on the lower economic scale ,their livelihood is interwine with politics mainly because those who hire them are usually are foreigners and for fair of rocking the boat the government turns a blind eye and as a result theworkers are overworked and underpaid. The government needs these business to help stop the unemployment rate never mind these workers would at some time become dependent on the said government for some form of economic help. In the meantime the rich gets richer and taxpayer gets poorer.

    Like

  • Yardbroom

    In the first part of this submission you have not only missed the ball, but you missed the field as well. There is no permanent under class in Barbados, where do you think this “thick wedge of black middle class” came from? They came from the same hawkers, street vendors etc. that you believe are marginalised today. Those hawkers and field workers ensured their children received a solid start to their education which was the foundation to propel them into “middle class” status.

    What is stopping the progeny of today’s hawker, domestic etc from achieving success ? Absolutely nothing!! Many use the knowledge that their parents are seen as “poor” to push themselves, they are not under achievers. If you spoke to some of those on the block you will hear story after story of wasted talent and opportunity, this is not new, it has happened before and will continue to occur.

    “The perception is that people of a specific class and social standing are not worthy of certain privileges and rights”.

    Whose perception? I want to know who is denying work to those of “specific class and social standing”? How did you arrive at that conclusion? Are employers applying a societal “means test” in Barbados? Please explain

    Like

  • I spend more time at work than I do at home, but have very little to show for it. It seems that the harder I try to make ends meet the harder it gets.

    Sometimes I work from 7:30 one morning until 2:00 the next morning, with nothing but a coke and a pack of tea time biscuits keeping my navel from touching my back.

    The old car I had for 13 years now parked next to the house rusting out because I could not find the money to pay the road tax and insurance at the same time.

    Every Friday evening I have to cut my eye at the supermarket.

    The fridge unplugged, the pot turned down and the stove covered in cobwebs.

    I guess all is not bad because I still have a phone line and high speed internet, right?

    Mr. Yardbroom does not want to get political but I, like a lot of other Bajans, got tired of the corruption and politicians who were drunk with power and voted for change.

    Thanks a lot for nothing, please come again.

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  • Mr. Yardbroom knows of what he speaks, for too have seen the snobbish and poor great bastards in action.

    Sargeant asks;
    “What is stopping the progeny of today’s hawker, domestic etc from achieving success ?” He then answers his own question. “Absolutely nothing!!” he yells from somewhere up north.

    It is obviously clear that Sarge’s vision of success is severely clouded, warped even.

    Middle class my ass.

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  • @Hand To Mout,
    Instead of unplugging de fridge why don’t you unplug de computer and stop paying for internet access.
    Yuh would be able to buy food.

    You say you work 17 1/2 hours on a coke and a pack of Biscuits.
    Amazing.

    @Yardbroom,
    The majority of hawkers might be perceived by some as underclass but I would bet that most of them make a very good living.

    It is the unemployed boys on the Block that need to be guided and motivated to participate in the economy of Barbados.

    Like

  • @ Sarge,Perhaps the “thick wedge of middle class” include the children of the hawkers , whose education was financed by the hawkers themselves ,and who was left in the village to fend for themselves, while the newer middle class offspring with their Degrees and SUV’s lord it up in the Heights and Terraces.
    See this everyday.
    Heard the one about the old guy who bought his son a car…..cash. The father met him in town and called at him. When the son got home he admonished the father for calling at him”while he was with his friends.”
    A few morning later the father told the son that he would have to leave the car at home as the garage was coming for it to do some maintenance. The father had made arrangements with the dealer to sell the car.

    Like

  • Hants
    No internet access?
    Why would you want to be so cruel man?
    Can you imagine having to depend on the Nation, Advocate, VOB and CBC for news?

    I do not know about you, but I consider Internet access to be a necessity and refrigeration an extravagance I can live with out.

    I grew up in the days when only rich people had fridges and people used to buy 25 cents in ice on Sundays, from the woman up the hill in the wall bungalow.

    Before I unplugged the fridge, I used to eat a lot and then burst my belly with ice water or cold drink, mauby especially. I was pressing 220 lbs on the scale and 0 lbs on the bench at the time, and could barely see my buddy when standing. Every single night I would wake up with acid reflux.

    Then one night the constant humming of the motor started to get on my nerves and I unplugged it to get some peace. Sometime later, BL&P increased their rates and I never bothered to plug it back in.

    I have since lost 20 lbs, can see my buddy anytime I look for him, pay BL&P about half of what I used to pay before and cannot remember the last time I was bothered by acid reflux, so I am not complaining.

    Like

  • @Bosun

    I know some successful people who came from families described in the first part of the article whose parents lack for nothing but there are always exceptions.

    I agree with the comments on dependency, I just don’t agree with the suggestion that there is a permanent underclass in Barbados

    Like

  • Hi Sargeant
    You wrote, quote: ” Yardbroom, In the first part of this submission you have not only missed the ball, but you missed the field as well. There is no permanent underclass in Barbados, where do you think this “thick wedge” of black middle class” came from? They came from the same hawkers, street vendors etc. that you believe are marginalised today. Those hawkers and field workers ensured their children received a solid start to their education which was the foundation to propel them into “middle class”status”.
    *********************************
    I do not recall writing the word “permanent” in my submission; so I re-read it to be sure. To my mind permanent means for an indefinite period, so I would not use it in this case, but in fairness to you I take the point you are making.
    *********************************************
    You added”What is stopping the progeny of today’s hawker, domestic etc from achieving success? Absolutely nothing!!”
    **************************************************
    That is a broad and sweeping statement perhaps I am not as sure as you are; but employment might help.
    Unemployment Rates Barbados
    “(2000-9.4%) (2005-9.1%) (2008-8.1%)”
    UN Data World Statistics
    (2009-9.4%) Wikipedia Unemployment Barbados
    I will leave the statistics to respond to unemployment.
    ****************************************
    You added:” Whose perception? I want to know who is denying work to those of a “specific class and social standing?” How did you arrive at that conclusion? are employers applying a societal “means test” in Barbados? please explain.
    ****************************************
    That I have asserted a point of view to be true does not necessarily mean it holds good for “all” circumstances, as this is not science.
    I take no umbrage whatsoever that you disagree with what I have written. In many ways it is good because perceptions of identical circumstances can be viewed differently depending on ones experiences.
    Finally to your cricket cameo about my missing the ball and field as well…it reminded me of the Jamaican batsman Collie Smith. Many thought he had often missed the ball and the field as well, little did they know he had an uncanny predilection for hitting sixes…the ball was often found in the adjoining field.
    *******************************************
    Hi Hants,
    You wrote, quote: “@ Yardbroom the majority of hawkers might be perceived by some as underclass but I would bet that most of them make a very good living”
    I would “never” assert that hawkers or any other workers are “underclass” in Barbados as that word has a different connotation to what I mean in context. I am sure that you know, hawkers are some of the most industrious people in Barbados, as it is they who were the most enterprising in the early days, when they sold produce from the little land they were allocated…I salute them.

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  • @ Yardbroom

    A good submission which deals with some pertinent truths…

    The sociology of which you speak goes back as far as I can remember, as a young boy growing up in Barbados in the 60’s with grandparents from St. Andrew who sold some of the same fruit & VEG* to hawkers, for them to earn a living selling in Bridgetown for their families…

    Yes – as an agrarian society emerging out of the shackles of colonial plantocracy – our [great] grandparents had no choice but to eek out a paltry existence while the land-owing classes (who held economic/political power), the bourgeois immigrants (who had socioeconomic capital) and the returning educated classes from “Ox-Bridge” universities in the UK were all looking to get their piece of their pie at any cost.

    This returning class of emerging “uppity Blacks” were not conscious of the damage they were going to inflict on their unenlightened people. They themselves had been “systematically brainwashed” by the subtlety of European academic ideologies which they unconsciously infringed on West Indian societies as a form of “reverse indoctrination” which still kept the masses psychologically enslaved…

    The ‘ole pervasive MARXIST* philosophy of the 60’s through the 80’s STILL* remains endemic within Bajan society. We have not moved beyond that “MINDSET”…

    Just as Marx lamented that the “bourgeoisie” would always suppress the “proletariat” to guarantee that there will always be a “pool of labor” from which they can draw from, as they grease* the cogs of the capitalist-landowning, economically-affluent, politically-toting power broking classes – and clearly we have seen that the politics of economic transmigration from working class to owner class still remains a “pipe-dream” for a society that with all due respect is STILL*(“homogeneously BLACK”)…

    As more and more of our young men and women are “Left Behind” (no pun intended -LOL) – what we see emerging is not necessarily an “underclass” but more of a pastmodern “subculture” where the rules of social/economic engagement has drastically changed from the 20th century paradigm to what we are currently witnessing.

    In the process, let us NOT* be blinded by the aperture of what appears to be visual middle-class wealth when the facts on the ground show that many households in Barbados who live in the “Heights & Terraces”, live from paycheck to paycheck – with some of them so stretched economically, that behind closed doors, they are eating “sardines and biscuits” for dinner while we subsume they are having T-Bone steak, baby potatoes & rocket salad…

    There are many variables to be considered when you look at the “stratification” of Bajan society – it remains a complex melee of conflicting forces which is not easily transparent to the naked eye…

    Unraveling the inequalities and setting a paradigm for economic fairness, social equity and class empowerment is a TALL* order in a society “stunted” by infighting within the very masses – a fractiousness created by the “said forces” which we so often lament over here on BU*…

    How this will change – GOD KNOWS!!!

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  • Had been waiting patiently for someone to question YB’s definition of middleclass. The definition in a Barbados context assumes a different form if we can accept that our burgeoning predominantly Black ‘middleclass’ has not occupied that position long enough to have acquired significant wealth.

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  • Yardbroom

    Re Collie Smith

    Good one!!!

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  • “As a result we have governance of the many, by the few, for the few.”, Yardbroom in the above lead thread – September 6, 2010

    Yardbroom, you have made some very important points, in many parts of your submission.

    For, the PDC, though, the single biggest social political problem in this country is elite/governmental political exploitation of the masses and pseudo-elites by ideological psychological political material and financial means, out of so many other social political problems in this country.

    This very abominable situation is one of the fundamental reasons why our party has been brought into existence, to help find a way out for the greater liberation and development of the broad masses and middle classes of people in this country.

    Therefore, consonant with the establishment of our party, we have had a divinely experiential vision for the people of this country.

    Many aspects of it have already been shared with the people of this country, in so many ways – the Abolition of TAXATION, INTEREST RATES, THE ABOLITION OF WORK, etc.

    Hence, a fundamental part of this vision deals with the political oligarchy and its definite social political behaviourisms in this country, which altogether many of the masses and middle classes have to OVERPOWER and WESTLE to the ground in this country in order to, along with other things being put in place, achieve greater states of existence and valorization, .

    The political oligarchy is the political ruling classes of this country – the elites of this country; they are part of “the political establishment” of this country.

    Indeed, the political ruling classes, which have essentially emerged from the power structurations, cultures and other critical dimensions of this Westernized Eurocentric driven social, political, material and financial system in Barbados, are made up of those people like – the Goddards, the Caves, the Williams, the Seales, the Simpsons, the Merchandanis, the Haloutes, the Parrises, etc. who – through their very constant deliberate calculated use of the relevant power manifestations provided by the social political system – have been managing to politically exploit the masses and middle classes of people of this country by ideological psychological political material and financial means, in order to aggregate such wealth and income – which then before and after are would have been constantly used by them to principally dangerously tap into or interfere with the “natural” cycles of many of the broad masses and middle classes – in order to make sure that they never reach their maximum political and other potentials.

    Therefore, this vision entails too a PDC Government that will come into office in this country and that will implement these policies consistent with this vision for the whole of Barbados, and that will make sure that the present political oligarchs – or their progenies – are damn well OWERPOWERED and WRESTLED to the ground in this country, while at the same time the broad masses and middle classes are greater empowered and enfranchised.

    Moreover, just like the political elites are and have over the years been the malleable designs of a mosaic of similar and different opposing forces, motions and motivations within this social political system, the government and its different stages of evolution are and have long been the malleable designs too of a labyrinth of similar/different opposing forces motions and motivations of this said wider social political system.

    However, where our country Barbados is concerned, its written political history started as a history of British colonial decimation of the native peoples, and the subsequent colonial enslavement of black people by the local white planter class in the name of the British Monarchs.

    It deepened then with the British government involvement in the exploitation of the local ruling classes – planter classes – by ideological psychological political material and financial means, and at the same time widened then with the latter savagely and inhumanly exploiting those who were enslaved, those who were indentured, and those who were the earlier natives.

    So, through out the constitutional political history of Barbados, from the 17th Century, through emancipation 1834, through independence 1966, up until now at this point in the 21th Century, the province of government would have been used by the previous colonial power, by many British/American/Canadian mercantilists, capitalists/imperialists, neo-colonialists, etc, and would have been used by many local elites/pseudo-elites over the years, to greatly assist them in their own grand wicked ideological psychological political material and financial exploitation schemes.

    But, the more democratic pluralist the Barbadian political society would have been becoming toward this period of post-independence, the more democratic pluralist the more financially costly the government of Barbados would have been becoming, but only a little less exploitative and cruel than during the colonial era.

    For, the DLP and the BLP, when they were at their best in the 1950s right up to the 1980s – had placed greater emphasis than the colonial power on the social and social welfare aspects ( education, health, housing, etc.) of the broad masses and middle classes, thus lessening the direct effects of the elite’s and its own vicious political exploitation and dispossessioning of these people, even though it has long been objectively clear that these public social welfare goods and services – as they continue to be done still – are and have been principally done to strengthen the power and wealth holds of the elites and their corporates and the government over the broad masses and middle classes – rather than they having been done to provide much of the intellectual social political material and financial bases for the masses and middle classes proceeding to take control over the social political material and financial affairs of this country.

    That is why it must be said that at such a time as now when both the DLP and BLP – in this case, to be read as their main leaderships and principals – are using the province of government to deepen, expand and treasure their relationships with the elites of this country, so that these money grubbers will get certain policies and programs and government contracts that will lead to their net accumulation of greater power and wealth in exchange for possible material income gain from those people for themselves, and for some of their families, some of their friends – that is why these parties and main leaderships MUST BE PERMANENTLY KICKED TO HELL OUT OF the parliament of this country, given that they having been massively failing to provide the additional bases for the broad masses and middle classes proceeding to take control over the entire affairs of Barbados; for not demonstrating what it means to be parliamentarians who are the descendents of a once enslaved people; and for being flipping well stupid ass blocks obstacles towards greater progess for the masses and middle classes in this country.

    So, VOTE for a PDC Government to make government in this country really of the people, by the people and for the people.

    PDC

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  • @ DAVID

    Sadly, our Forefathers* sowed the seeds from which the currents struggles have sprung. In hindsight, we could all argue that they did the best with what they had or in this case, were duped into handling. If in the West Indies and most notably Barbados (the imminent “jewel” in the Crown* (sorry again for the play on words – LOL), – “working-class consciousness” was then, for newly educated Ox-Bridge Marxists, an unveiling comprehension of the struggle – being the process through which the proletariat developed from its own identity as formed by capitalism (the mass of exploited wage-laborers, the class ‘in itself’) to the working class organized as a “revolutionary force” for the taking of power and the building of social utopia – then the question begs itself – “WHERE HAS BEEN THE FRUIT OF THAT STRUGGLE IN THE “21st CENTURY?”

    Black working class folks in Barbados are still mere wage earners 50 to 100 years on, because the doors to unilateral ownership is controlled by an age-old, decadent, out of touch, white eurocentric, entrenched plantocracy whose roots are buried so deep in the socio-political ether that it is virtually impossible even with majority Black rule since 1966 that anything would have really changed.

    The oxymoronic term “middle class” was based a tragically long history – a formulation and a concoction devised to appease the revolutionary and academic forces being unveiled during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment periods which by and large STILL* has had many, sometimes contradictory, meanings.

    “Middle Class” in the conventional literature of Max Weber et al was once defined by exception as an intermediate social class between the nobility and aristocracy and the miserable peasants of Europe (this same concept was carried over into colonialism).

    While the landowning gentry owned the countryside (with its palatial edifices) – the sub-human peasantry toiled laboriously in the countryside and from this socially detestable paradigm emerged a new bourgeoisie (literally “town-dwellers”) which were to act as a “plank” between those who had and controlled “ALL” the forces of production and the “aspirations” of those who simply looked on (in miserable HOPE*) dreaming of something that was so far out of reach but existed within their gaze.

    This “middle class” arose around the mercantile functions of the city to manage the growing, exploited assets and the wealth of the aristocracy – who then in turn would be rewarded with a tuppence of their master’s largesse.

    Descending from this distinction, the term “middle class” remain just that – a shared permaculture of occupational domesticity and a stratification of sub-urbanization which hardly sees any crossover but in periods of economic contraction as was seen in the last Stock Market Crash – they are the first ones to lose jobs, livelihoods and sometimes their minds. This level of relative insecurity against social seismology is merely a pseudo-socioeconomic paradigm that is easily toppled by social infractions…

    So I would not put much confidence in social scientists and politicians who exploit the virtues of middle class values when in fact this group is even more susceptible to the vagaries and machinations of social upheaval than even the so-called working class who are often labeled uneducated, inert and downwardly mobile…

    Just look at southern California as a case in point!!!

    Like

  • Dream Star,

    Great post. Brilliant.

    David,

    There is no real middle class in Barbados!!!

    We in the PDC use the term “middle class”” or “middle classes” principally because of its widespread socio-politico-linguistic currency use, and because of a slight understanding by some as to what it connotes and denotes more than anything else that can be used in its place.

    Hence, what is referred to as the middle class is not a class itself because it was created by the planter merchant upper class many years ago in Barbados as a social political divide and rule buffer group between itself, the rich empowered class – a natural social class, and the poor disempowered class – the other natural class.

    It emerged and developed out of the so-called house slave paradigm in early colonial society, based on a colonial education, and its close material financial connections with and political subservience to the planter/merchant class, esp. in the area of governmental administration.

    Moreso, it is not a class, or classes, because it is essentially an appendage of the historic elites – a class must have its own distinct identities, traditions, characteristics. It is not enough to provide money and income measures to attempt to justify such an illusory category. Who we in the PDC regard as the “middle class” do portray too many social political characteristics and behaviours consistent with those of their historic creators – the elites – that is why we refer to these people really as the pseudo-elite, a social category – not a class.

    And some of those who we regard as being from the middle class would have taken many of working classes attitudes and outlooks with them into this so-called middle class.

    It does not have clear antagonistic tendencies relationships, say, against, the elites or the poor classes, or between itself and the other real classes, like how the two other real classes do have these things between themselves, primarily because it does not have that class in itself of itself consciousness philosophy, social ingrainment.

    Finally, the “middle class” as a category prefers to mediate and negotiate intellectualize hoodwink its way out of its many social financial problems, to ensure the least material financial disruptions between itself and the elites and its greater property owning money enriching aspirations, hence its instincts are to think about and do things to control discipline politically sedate itself, and to think about and do things to control the greater more politically aggressive masses into doing and thinking things they would not otherwise do many of the times – rather than to instigate a rebellion against a elite-driven criminal political order.

    PDC

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  • @ David
    In a Barbadian context because of our history and our level of social development, middle class could mean, not only being in the middle of a social hierarchy but having the employment that is seen as such and the security of that employment to maintain a certain lifestyle.

    The majority of the problems we have in Barbados could be solved by: Six politicians, men or women who have not been surreptitiously groomed by others to do their bidding.

    There are only two things they need “moral character” and no overpowering desire to be rich beyond expectations.

    With the above attributes they can bring about a fairer society, in which all colours and races who inhabit the rock can move forward together. We can either change voluntarily or be like other places, some not far from us, where decay and violence becomes a major part of society…because those at the bottom have nothing to lose by their actions…it is this we must guard against at all cost.

    I ask of anyone here, why is it that in a country where the Black majority population is almost 90%, that you cannot walk down the main high street and count “6” Black owned businesses.

    Think on That.

    Like

  • @Hants | September 6, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    you said it was amazing that ‘hand to mout’ worked on coke on biscuits for 17 1/2 hrs? i worked already on water only. i had nothing but #3.00 busfare to and from worked. i know of others who eat ice for lunch and still some who leave work so they work mates would believe they went out to lunch. these are people who work in government for salaries between $2,600 – $3,000, have rent/mortgage to pay, children to send to school and put themselves in school. Government make provisions for those on Welfare. the rich don’t need help but we who are doing our part are NOT getting any help. today is the first week in Sept. and I have 2 at BCC, – all i have is $9.00 in my purse and payday is 3 wks away. you would want to know what i do with my money. i pay water, rent, ele, tel. internet (notes are given by email), no multi-choice or direct tv. and i am at UWI. i have loans which basically started ’cause education – where can i turn?

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  • @Yardbroom,perhaps we are unable to see few black businesses in any street,because we as a people do not believe in taking risks, but would rather play it safe and get a job working for the people who owned the businesses in the street.
    Secondly many a black business only get the support of other blacks, when they have expended all of their cash with the other big businesses,and are now seeking credit.

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  • @Yardbroom
    “why is it that in a country where the Black majority population is almost 90%, that you cannot walk down the main high street and count “6″ Black owned businesses.”

    The psychosocial overtures of white privilege versus the damnation of Black oppression is mired in a long checkered history of struggle.

    Social historians are still asking why is it that “APARTHEID” could not find an acceptable base in which to forment in places like Nigeria or Ethiopia – but was able to successfully entrench in South Africa?

    And similarly, “SEGREGATION” in America!!!

    The simple answer to the question posed above without rehashing all the sociological hyperbole is simply – WE LACK UNITY!!!

    In post-apartheid South Africa, white privilege still exist. The Asian Indian though seen as “Black” (as in Britain) controls vast swathes of the economic landscape. While BLACKS* proportionately are still disenfranchised, wage earners, poverty-stricken and are grappling with the same issues before the ascent of Black majority rule (now under corrupt Jacob Zuma)…

    So Barbados, like many other countries, where there is a predominate Black populace but where a small minority controls most of the economic assets – find themselves languishing on the periphery of society with no real opportunity to own the means of production.

    The “owner-class” TOOK* the means of production ‘via armis’ – and for the working class to achieve a similar feat, negotiation and dialogue will not achieve what was done to us by force of arms…

    The greatest challenge BLACKS* in Barbados face is having a united front – but what happens when your elected leaders are clueless as to what necessitates unity and every man is on a power-grab because our inherent philosophy is “every man for himself and God for all”…

    It may take another 50 years for serious in roads to be made because “mindsets” will have to change or the ‘ole generation will have to die out (as in the case of ancient Israel) so a new generation can enter the promised land.

    One thing is sure – white privilege will not give up their stolen historical rites without a serious revolution…

    That in itself may include bloodshed!!!

    But then, we are NOT* brave enough anyway!!!

    Neither does our leaders have the testicular magnitude to get the job done!!!

    Frankly, we are screwed (please excuse my french)…

    Like

  • Hi Bosun
    You wrote quote:, @ Yardbroom perhaps we are unable to see few black businesses in any street, because we as a people do not believe in taking risks, but would rather people play it safe and get a job working for the people who owned the businesses in the street.
    Secondly many a black business only get the support of other blacks, when they have expended all of their cash with the other big businesses, and are now seeking credit”
    ********************
    I must agree in certain aspects you are “right,” hence the reasons for a serious “debate” to examine why the situation is the way it is in Barbados.
    I have seen too many successful black businesses around the world as I have travelled, to believe that black people cannot be successful running businesses. However, if you tell people something often enough and keep repeating it, they are likely to believe it.

    If we continue as we are, black people will only own the “footsteps” on which they temporarily tread in Barbados. Everything else of any importance will be owned by others…we will have only ourselves to blame as we would have freely given away our birthright.

    @ dreamstarworld
    You have succinctly made the point:
    “We Lack Unity”
    There is nothing that could not be done in Barbados to help the masses if there was the “will”…and all would benefit. Unless we are prepared to make a short term sacrifice for a long term gain…all will be lost.

    We believe that real “power and influence” comes from being in Government. It does not. It comes from having the financial, strength to influence what is done, how it is done, and to whom it is done.

    Like

  • @Bosun

    When you examine Black Barbadians taking risk you must do so with the appreciation of those who control capital and economic power.

    Like

  • @anonymous who wrote “I have 2 at BCC, – all i have is $9.00 in my purse and payday is 3 wks away. you would want to know what i do with my money. i pay water, rent, ele, tel. internet (notes are given by email), no multi-choice or direct tv. and i am at UWI. i have loans which basically started ’cause education – where can i turn?”

    I sincerely hope that you and your children are successful in your endeavors.
    Nuff respect.

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  • There is no democratic way to change the balance of business power in Barbados.

    Big business in Barbados is controlled by a minority who work and socialise within their race and they will not sell interest in their businesses to people “outside de ling”.

    They are in a position of strength because “people wan to keep duh job” and they will continue to be supported by their employees.

    As an aside, Yesterday I saw a photo of some Hilton employees. All black except for one white man who is the General Manager.
    Hopefully we will see a black GM at the Hilton within the next 10 to 20 years.

    Like

  • There horse left the stable years ago. yuh all got a lot of catching up to do. Read the history of your foreparents. They made somethings out of nothing . Who build the chattel houses? Who build the roads? Listen yuh all nobody wants to see the Black man in control of anything. Now yuh all acting as if we don’t want to help ourselves. We were taught even in the educational system that its better to work for others than to work fuh yuhself.Why yuh think so many Bajans with skilled left de shores Nuh? Whenthe whitman got rid of the educated and smart Bajans they were able to take control of everthinh.Yuh tink they guuna giv um back to yuh.Yuh only fooling yuh self. Then again they got de house negroes in they pockets. Yuh all stop fooling yuh self. Yuh sound ridiculous.

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  • Good discussion, now where’s the action. What are the steps needed for change!

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  • Hopefully we wiil see ablack Gm in20yrs. Yeah when dem in control steal every thing and gone. Then dey leave the mess for de black to clean up. look how de did barack Obama. Look dey ain”t nutting left fuh we to get. dey control everything . Even the land we once owned. Deh got we in a head lock and deh ain”” going to let go. Who yuh tink we have to go to if we want to start a business. Yuh mean to tell me dat they going lend alll uh we their money to star a business to compete wid them. Wuhloss I waiting to see dat day! Look how deh already convince alll wuuna Bajans that we lazy! when a person say the say time over and over again yuh start to believe it.
    The poor person in de above posting working like a slave and getting no where. Yuh tink she like it dat way. Dat is de way those in control of the wealth like it. AS long as a person is subservant . They are powerless and have very little influece in the political system. Why yuh tink thereis only one Oprah. Yuh mean to say that she is the only black person in the USA that can appeal to a TV audience. Again dey only would give a little to pacify the masses.,but the control stays with them.

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  • @ac ‘Hopefully we wiil see ablack Gm in20yrs”

    What are you talking about???

    What was N.E.Wilson, Leo Leacock? Entrepreneurs of the highest caliber. How about Ralph Taylor? Robert LeHunte? Dodridge Millar? All CEO’s of major established corporations.

    All accomplished and successful men.

    Really!

    Like

  • I would say that there is opportunity, but it is becoming harder and harder for the ever growing middle class to advance, due to the ever reducing purchasing power of their earnings.

    This is a worldwide phenomena, not just Barbados.

    The gap between the wealthy and middle class is reducing, plus it is harder for the majority to buy assets such as land and commercial property.

    It appears that things have regressed to the 70’s.

    Like

  • Really!@Hants
    Times have changed and back then that was only a handful by now we should have owned the kit and kabootle. ‘Lock stock and barrel. ‘ Not even enough to full a pintsize measuring cup. Very few and far in between ! I need more convincing . Not going to settle for second best! Two or three does not complete the team.
    Really!

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  • @YB

    I ask of anyone here, why is it that in a country where the Black majority population is almost 90%, that you cannot walk down the main high street and count “6″ Black owned businesses.

    Agree it can come down to interpretation. The question you posed is interesting. The middleclass which we are having problems defining is a fully leveraged financially group in Barbados. It probably explains why this group will not be part of any significant economic base any time soon.

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  • @David , we can no longer use the excuse of the people who control the economic power in this country are keeping us from opening our own businesses. We have many Credit Unions on the island ,where 90 % ,if not higher,of the membership are black, and have assets running into $Billions.But you know what? we borrow money from the Credit Union go up to Simpson Motors or McEnearney and purchase a $130.000 + car. Or go up to Florida and pay Disney and AA thousands. I cannot recall ever seeing an Asian, the Kensignton type, in a bank,I understand that they do not believe in banks, but they do get together and help each other.Something that we as a people need to copy.
    The whole idea of our forefathers giving our people easier access to university education, is that when they come out of UWI they are equip to be entrepreneurs.,and not to high tail it to Warrens and Bridgetown seek a lil safe job.
    But I’ve often said ,take all the money and assets in Barbados and divide them equally among the 284,000 of us. Within the next two years, those who are now holding on to the riches ,will once again regain their privilege status.

    Like

  • @ YB:
    You said:”We believe that real “power and influence” comes from being in Government. It does not. It comes from having the financial, strength to influence what is done, how it is done, and to whom it is done.”

    This is a absolutely spot on. The sooner more of us recognise this, the faster the unbalanced system we see will begin to change…
    But not only being in government, many see getting a degree or other academic qualifications as an end in itself without assessing how any acquired knowledge can be transformed to entrepreneurship and wealth creation…

    Like

  • Black bajans have been indoctrinated to get a job and not create one for themselves. Many with degrees who are looking for jobs would rather sit at home and wait even if it takes several years. We have been taught by our education system to follow and not take the initiative.

    Some of us who have taken risks and have become successful have become big headed and arrogant, treating their customers with disdain. I have supported many black businesses, however the level of customer service is way below standard. For example, I was redoing my kitchen earlier this year and was shopping for a counter top. I had been to several places checking prices and goods. The one I decided to shop with had no one to show me around. I went to the main business and asked for someone to assist me. I was told that to look for the owner when I return down there because he is there most of the time, overseeing construction work. I went back the next day and found him. I asked him if he can get someone to assist me. He replied that he has over a million dollars tied up in granite and doesn’t care if his granite sells or not because he is busy constructing a 10 million dollar building. I said to him that it may not hurt him now but it will later on. I couldn’t believe what I had heard. He must of seen the disgust on my face and called someone to assist. I was assisted by the fabricators who are not employed by this firm but had an arrangement with them to fabricate the counter tops.. They knew their stuff and this firm’s products. It was the fabricators dedication, patience and their passion for excellence that sealed the deal. I would have walked had it not been for them.

    There is also an unwritten rule for whites and one for blacks many black people adhere to. If a black man/woman becomes well off and lives in a nice home they say he/she is trying to be white. If he/she speaks properly and conduct himself mannerly they say he/she is trying to be white. They have reserved a high standard for white people and a very low one for themselves. If a black person opens a business many would not support it because they feel that they should not get rich offa dem.

    One day I was out in my garden working near the road and there was a woman cleaning the roadside. We got to talking and I asked her if she knew anyone looking for a gardening job. She looked at me and asked if I belong at the house, I replied yes, she then went on to say that she thought that it was white people who lived there because the place looked so clean and nice.

    I have always maintained that we black bajans are the white businesses wealth on this island and we can end it any time simply by doing business elsewhere. Hell that will never happen until we learn and take a page from the white man’s book, treat customers with RESPECT and give good service. Not tek yuh money and run way!

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  • This is what I wrote. “Hopefully we will see a black GM at the Hilton within the next 10 to 20 years.”
    wanna can’t read?

    Like

  • @Bosun

    Don’t disagree with you at all but you should bear in mind credit unions are limited by the amount of money they can lend a person.

    The thrust of the point which BU is making is the power structures which underpin Barbados i.e. the way decisions are made is controlled by a small but powerful band of people; mostly White. It doesn’t matter how much money Blacks borrow there will be some challenges.

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  • Hi Hants, you wrote: ” There is no democratic way to change the balance of business power in Barbados”

    Nothing worthwhile is gained in life without some “sacrifice” we fool ourselves if we believe otherwise.

    There is no business however large it seems that can sustain itself for a prolonged period of time without cashflow. No fuss, no argument, not even a harsh word, just do not buy or patronize it.

    Of course there has to be a sacrifices, “unity of purpose” is the key. It has never failed yet.
    You must never set challenges that cannot be fulfilled…this one can be.

    @ David
    Quote: … “YB the middleclass which we are having problems defining is a fully leveraged financially group in Barbados. It probably explains why this group will not be part of any economic base any time soon.”

    The middleclass in Barbados can be divided into about three groups, one by employment, some by education and profession and others by race – often mixed – and social standing; there is sometimes a degree of overlap between the three.
    To be honest some do not – and will never – think of themselves as black and they are quite happy with their present state. Blackness in context, is not only your colour but what you “do” to help others who are black. That is really the acid test, you can say how black you are as often as you like but if in your actions you do not try to help other black people, and you work against them; that professing of being black is meaningless.
    I have met “white people” who have fought tirelessly on behalf of black people…not in Barbados it is true, but there are many.

    @ islandgal246, Hi, I read your post and re-read it again – even at my age – to be reminded of the “truth” of its content. There is absolutely nothing I could add.

    Like

  • Made n error in my last post ‘The gap between the wealthy and middle class is ‘reducing’ s/be ‘increasing’!

    Hants, one the Hilton. The Hilton is a franchise chain. not a Barbadian Hotel. The franchise chain will place its ‘own’ managers, in place, most likely not promote. It is a corporate thing, most companies with subsidiaries do this. So, we may get a black GM, but from Washinton, or Pennsylvania etc.

    @ac, What you said above about perceptions as to ‘who belongs where’ is quite true.

    This is also a problem where people consider color too much and the individual and person’s attributes too little.

    Superficial or imagined (indoctrinated, maybe not by teaching, but social) vs real.

    Like

  • @Crusoe
    Absolutely True. It is all about color and those who are determined to control the wealth.

    @ Bosun ;
    Have you notice how financial institution encourage people to borrow money for vacations .Do you think that they do this because they like us. Remember now that kind of money is reinvested into their when we spend it at places like Disney World and business like hotels which they owned and rental car enterprises . It is the way the game is played. They lend us the money because it is going to be of benefit to them .However to lend us money to own a business means we are on equal and compettive with them.Again its all about who controls what.

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  • You know why are some of us concerned about seeing a black GM at the Hilton when we have companies locally owned by white Bajans, who employ at the lower levels the majority of black Bajans. Yet on their board of directors you cannot see a black face peeping out. For a country that is predominantly black 95% you would think that there would be similar representation across the board. They will tell you that they employ a lot of black people….who else can they employ? The board of directors have been hand picked and pray tell why is it only white faces you see?

    We have to learn to work together, form companies together and invest together to be a force to be reckoned with. We do have some local black millionaires here who have made their fortune during the construction boom. Yet many still feel that they need to do business with the white man or else they would lose their pick.

    Yes it is very difficult to get a break in a market that is as small as ours, but we have to stop blaming others for our own lack of foresight and business savvy. When we choose to buy a car at a cost that is equivalent to the cost an acre of land we are to blame. When we prefer to spend our hard earned money on fancy clothes, shopping trips and jewelry than to invest in land we are to blame.

    Land will not get cheaper, it is in limited supply and we cannot manufacture it. Yet we allow the NHC to build boxes the size of a chicken coop where you can’t even fart without the neighbour hearing and smelling it, and call it affordable housing for us and we swallow and buy into it at a ridiculous price. Who is to blame for that. We have been asleep for too long and many who were awake had the foresight and had moved swiftly. Wake up and smell the coffee (or your neighbours farts).

    Like

  • acre of land? more like 10,000 at best 15,000 sq ft maybe . which part selling acre at that price i would like to buy.

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  • @Anthony, 15+ years ago in the days when land was affordable. Ok then let us say 15000 sq ft. It is still land after 10 years and not a pile of rust.

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  • true you have no argument for me. doing quick check on hannah properties cheapest 5000+ sq is 7480sq ft for 85,000. so I guess even 15,000 not doable now

    Like

  • @ anonymous | September 7, 2010 at 12:54 PM |

    I am in the same boat and will suceed eventually! Respect to you and yours!

    I think we should change the way we think as a people! I remember talking about the way Abeds treated me and my daughter and have not bought anything from them since!

    How many others can boast of someone treating them with disdain and yet (don’t deny it) still return to their abusers. Got to be a syndrome.

    We need to change the way we think as a people. I already have started to tell my son that he should be an entrepreneur! Therefore, we need to cause our children to believe in themselves and not to rely on others for their ‘daily bread’!

    @ IG, you keeping it real up in here!

    Like

  • @JC
    I do hope that you are telling your daughter the same thing as well. I applaud you for your stance with Abeds. Many of us suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome.

    A excellent program is Junior achievers. Mind you there were cases of embezzlement and the CEO was held accountable LOL. This is a great learning experience for youngsters . I am not sure if it is still running however it is not that difficult to set up a similar program. We also have to fully understand the meaning entrepreneurship.

    Many years ago I was shopping in Everybodys in Swan Street. I went to pay by cheque , the amount was around $30.00. The owner entered the amount in the register and I wrote the cheque. He looked at the cheque and started telling me that he has got many like these from customers upstairs in his office that had bounced and that if that is all I can spend in his store. I asked him if he prefers that I spend what I cannot afford to than what I can . I demanded my cheque back and walked out and never went back. Where is Everybodys store today?

    Life is a struggle and no one owes us anything and that includes a job as well. Nothing is written in stone and the market changes constantly . We must be able to adapt, embrace and anticipate change in a positive manner. We lack confidence within ourselves after being told for many years that we can’t.

    A Guyanese once told me that his father drummed into his head at an early age that ” CAN’T IS A MAN WHO HAS NEVER TRIED!”

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  • While i don’t get poor customer service normally when i do they don’t normally see me ever again . the only exception being bwa when they don’t seem to put the previous month payment on time and it show the account in arrears in the current months statement

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  • @islandgal, you are spot on.
    @ ac. Nothing has changed over the years.Remember when sugar was king,and workers used to receive a hefty “Back Money”?
    They were paid on a Friday and Plantations Limited, SP Mussons, and the lot of Bridgetown merchants,who all had vested interests in the sugar industry, were quick to offer attractive sales on the following Saturday Morning. By noon the monies they had paid out in one hand to the sugar workers were safely back in the other hand.
    Its not a problem whether we have a Middle Class or not, the problem is those who see themselves as being Middle Class.

    Like

  • islandgal246 | September 8, 2010 at 11:41 AM |
    @JC
    I do hope that you are telling your daughter the same thing as well. I applaud you for your stance with Abeds”

    I have done the same thing with Courts. In fact I also wrote to them and demanded they take me off their mailing list. I have not been to Courts since my poor service and I have not seen any of their crap in my mail either

    Like

  • No one owes us nothing. Except when a person works hard and long for a living . One should be paid adequately. No one should have to work tirelessy and at the end of the day can’t afford to feed oneself. These stories have been told by over and over again. This is not a figment of a persons imagination this is true .

    Like

  • @AC……

    We also have a responsibility to deliver a good days work for a good days pay. I am aware that many people in Bridgetown work for pittance in bakeries and some areas of retail. However they would never be seen working in agriculture/ landscaping/anything that looks like getting their hands in the dirt where wages are sometimes double what they are making. Why is that so? De sun tooo hotttt and dem don’t want to get tooo black.

    Women have to be responsible enough to control their fertility and not be making babies with every man they are involved with. They are the ones who will be going all the way alone. Too many times I read in Dear Christine about women with too many children begging for some type of support because the children’s father or fathers are not in the picture. This just perpetuates the poverty cycle.

    Like

  • @islandgal246
    “However they would never be seen working in agriculture/ landscaping/anything that looks like getting their hands in the dirt where wages are sometimes double what they are making. Why is that so? De sun tooo hotttt and dem don’t want to get tooo black.’

    would you go and work in this sun today? and tell me do you know what the agriculture workers are paid? it DOES NOT compensate for working in the boiling hot sun – they a many illnesses we get from the sun that was not so prevalent years ago as the sun was not that hot. so come with something more intelligent than that fool

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  • @islandgal246 | September 9, 2010 at 9:29 AM |
    most women today in barbados have an average of 3 children. the ones u may hear about are the irresponsible ones who nevertheless get help from the welfare dept. but what about the ones who are in jobs, were in relationships but the spouse left them, they too are suffering. ur statement”too many times I read in Dear Christine about women with too many children begging for some type of support because the children’s father or fathers are not in the picture. This just perpetuates the poverty cycle.” might have been plausible years ago not today. face reality for once. it’s a lie what u said

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  • @anonymous | September 9, 2010 at 1:18 PM | |
    It is clear that you don’t know what I am speaking about. I speak from experience, when was the last time you got your dainty hands dirty? I am in constant contact with people who work the soil. That is why when the boats stop coming you and the rest who shun the hot sun will be fighting for grass to eat with the cows and sheep. I may be a fool to you, however you remind me of a piece of fecal matter that should be flushed away.

    Like

  • @Island gal
    Where people chose to work and who to work for is entirly up to them. However when they do work they are entitled to a decent salary 1.e one that can provide them with what is necessary to take care of themselves and their families.

    Like

  • @anonymous | September 9, 2010 at 1:18 PM |

    “it DOES NOT compensate for working in the boiling hot sun – they a many illnesses we get from the sun that was not so prevalent years ago as the sun was not that hot. so come with something more intelligent than that fool”

    Are you a product of our educational system? IF YOU ARE , THEN WE ARE IN A WORST STATE THAN EVER.

    Like

  • @anonymous

    PLEASE, PLEASE, GO BACK UNDER THE ROCK YOU’VE JUST CRAWLED OUT FROM.

    Like

  • It¡¦s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I¡¦m glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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