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Open letter to Sir Charles

William Skinner

Open letter to Sir Charles

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IN THE EYES OF MANY BARBADIANS, you are an example of hard work and tenacity. I am also aware that you have extended many acts of charity to the less fortunate.

Many of your employees have spoken very positively of your labour practices. In very simple terms, you have put food on the table for a large number of families. This food was not given; it was earned as it should be.

I met you once, when I was in the company of my cousin and dearest friend, David “Joey” Harper. I recall you telling us that the rather aged Mercedes was a bit heavy on gas. My first impression was that you were a very down-to-earth individual and that success had not made you lose the common touch. I am certain that since that meeting a few decades ago, your wealth has increased a thousand times.

However, as a black Barbadian, that positive impression of you has now disappeared forever. Your recent outburst and the language used in describing your employees cannot be dismissed as a “hurt” do-gooder who now feels betrayed. I am convinced that you said exactly what you intended.


Your description of your employees as lazy . . . was disrespectful and uncalled for. While many will understandably rush to pardon you, I am beyond certain that there is a pervasive anti-worker movement gaining ground in our country.

I am also beyond certain that attempts are being made to destroy the trade union movement . . . .

It is obvious to those who are unafraid to confront the powerful white moguls that you seem to see yourself as doing your essentially black workers a favour. I remind you that you could not have achieved your wealth without their labour and loyalty to your companies.

You want to remind them that they came to you “barely” with clothes on their backs and now they have cars. I hasten to remind you that you came to them with one second-hand tractor.

Today you now own, I am told, more land than any other citizen; you have marinas, horses for your leisure and are one of the most influential and powerful citizens in our country. Quite an achievement with the help of lazy laggards!

All I am left to ask you is: who the hell do you think you are?

William Skinner