Bizzy’s firestorm in a mauby glass
MR RALPH “B” BIZZY WILLIAMS has indeed set off a “firestorm” with his comments reported in your edition of Friday, January 8. One hopes that he has opened the long overdue conversation about race relations in our blessed island Barbados.
However, Mr Williams needs to explain himself further, because several right-thinking Barbadians wonder what is his reason for feeling “slighted and crushed”. Is he saying that the video statement about Barbados being the “freest black country in the world” excludes Bajan Whites? Or does he feel that Whites in Barbados are second-class citizens?
If Mr Williams is truly concerned about the status of Balan Whites in a country of 95 per cent Blacks, he should note the following undeniable facts about the period 1966 to 2016:
• Many Bajan Whites with names such as Hoad, Sealy, Webster and Kinch left Barbados in a hurry in November 1966 through to November 1967 for Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain.
• Fewer than 50 Bajan Whites (the number includes cadets, top policemen and top military personnel) were present at the flag-raising ceremony at the Garrison on November 29-30,1966, when Mr Errol Barrow, who they call “King Kong”, ushered in this island’s Independence from Britain to an audience of over 15 000 Blacks.
• Up to the late 1970s Barbados had all-white girls’ schools (remember St Winifred’s?), all-white cricket clubs (Wanderers), “Whites-only” spaces such as hotels, Hastings Rocks, Belleville and Strathclyde, reminding black Barbadians that they were still in the Caribbean’s “Deep South”, awaiting a Rosa Parks and a Martin Luther King Jr to break our “colour bar”.
• In 1980-81 Tom Adams’ Tenantry Freehold Purchase Act ushered in the true emancipation of black Barbadians from the located labour and chattel house oppression of 260 white-owned sugar plantations, including Vaucluse, Foster Hall and Three Houses.
• In 2007 the introduction of “stay-cations” in white-owned Barbadian hotels liberated black Barbadians from the demeaning and humiliating treatment from “Tubby The Guard”, if they dared to enter “the white people places” as either guests or “visitors”.
• In this freest black country, despite Independence and the 1974 revival of Crop Over, the St Winifred pantomimes with “Cinderella” and so on, the all-white Cockspur Majorettes, the all-white Blue Box Cart Band 1982-2010, plus Spice and Ivory all flourished and were given pride of place and positive profiling at all times.
• Since 1966 work permit advertisements in our newspapers (36 in 2015) serve to remind us Barbadians that non-nationals (are they Caucasians?) are more “suitable” to corporate Barbados as top-level employees than the “natives” in this free black country.
Mr Williams should note that the January 6, 2016 celebrations were about Independence and that while Bajan Whites love Barbados, they definitely had problems embracing Independence under black rule.
Clearly, Mr Williams has no real cause for concern.
– TREVOR G. MARSHALL