The recent uproar created by Sir Roy Trotman calling out of Diamond’s International Managing Director Jacob Hassid as the Egyptian Jew, has pierced the veneer which cloaks a simmering racial tension in Barbados. What we have is a dominant Black host population which has tolerated a relationship with the White population for years, the dominant minority group. It must be recognised that Whites enjoy a disproportionate economic influence which many readily admit extends to the political sphere in the form of White Shadows. The other ethnic groups have respected their minority roles.
In recent years BU has painted a concern about the affect the dismantling of the Barbados Model continues to impact our society. In the last decade another variable has had to be factored, the hegemony of Trinidad business. The unwillingness of successive governments and Barbadians to react to the aggressive acquisition of Barbados Assets does not augur well for a once proud people who exuded pride by being firm craftsmen of their fate.
It is no secret that the cash poor and now defunct Plantations Holdings Limited was gobbled up by CLICO to be asset-stripped. Unfortunately the trend has continued and many of Barbados highly regarded companies have been acquired by T&T capital. The tentacles of T&T interest now choke financial services, food, beverage and drug importation and distribution, key manufacturing concerns along with real estate. Coincidentally large numbers of Barbadians are employed in the the lines of business mentioned.
Barbadians seen through the eyes of others are regarded as a passive lot. A good example of it is the respectful demeanor shown in the face of changing and transferring ownership to foreigners – of late Trinidadians – of some of our most prized possessions including land. A reality however is that it is very difficult to control how private interest should dispose of their assets. Of interest is that historically many of the high valued local companies have been owned by the White minority group yet when the decision was made to sell there has been a haste to sell-out to non Barbadians. If it is a characteristic of Barbados that we have enjoyed a stable social and political climate despite known tension between the two groups, why rock the boat by casually allowing a shift of influence to Port of Spain, or is it deliberate?
Some may suggest that BU was gripped by a fit of paranoia at the time of writing. Have you (Black Barbadians) not wondered at any time if local Whites and cohorts have conspired to control the economic power on the island through the years? It appears when disposing assets this group prefers to sellout to non Barbadians. A careful analysis will show that mainly non Barbados groups now own or control critical tributaries in the local economy: financial services, manufacturing, food, beverage,drug importation and distribution.
It seems evident that Whites especially have decided NOT to fully integrate their businesses. The Williams Group comes to mind. In the last 20 years Whites have migrated their interest from the distributive trade to financial services and manufacturing. We have seen it with the Caves. We have seen it with the Seales. We have seen it with the Goddards. Indeed citizens are free to mobilize and invest their resources as they see fit but it will not prevent those with even a mild sense of discernment from making obvious conclusions.
Of interest is the Barbados labour Party (BLP) platform message in the coming election campaign. Many believe when Owen Arthur was Prime Minister his pro-CSME stance as the lead for CSME matters in Caricom precipitated the aggressive flow of capital from Port of Spain to Bridgetown.