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By the wayside’

Mike King

By the wayside’

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BARBADOS has failed Muhammad Amin Nassar and many black entrepreneurs.Economist and former human resources manager Tennyson Beckles made this assertion yesterday at the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) lunchtime lecture, where he also said that too small a group controlled the capital accumulation in this country.“The majority of people in Barbados are black. The majority of the labour force in Barbados is black. So why are the majority of entrepreneurs not black? I have to ask myself that question as a trained economist. “Black entrepreneurs have much going for them, but much of the advantage, which is normally gained as a result of these conditions, is abrogated by the reality of the disproportionate amount of accumulated surplus accruing to the white minority.“Our focus now must be to ensure that as the country gets wealthier, that some of the capital accumulation comes in our direction so that we can pass on that to our children.”Before an audience in George Street, Belleville, that included Nassar and fellow black businessmen Trevor “Job” Clarke and Hal Martin, Beckles noted that capital accumulation was the cornerstone of building wealth.“It is not unfair for us to demand some of it so that we, in future, will have some of the wealth of Barbados.”Nassar launched a broadside at successive Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and DLP governments, saying they had let down black businessmen.A businessman since he was 18, Nassar, a household name as the owner and main driving force behind Husbands Wrought Iron Engineering in the 1970s, said obstacles had been placed in his path at every turn for several years.He said he was disappointed that building contracts had been awarded to non-black firms such as Jada and Preconco at the exclusion of black companies.Beckles said that black businessmen had to deal not only with a financial deficit, but an image deficit as well.“There is a group of black entrepreneurs undertaking a project in St Lucy  and already we have gossip-mongers querying where they are going to get the money from. Some have even said they are fronting. We have to move away from that kind of thinking.”