Former Barbados Ambassador To The USA: “Whites Are Not In Charge Of Barbados’ Economy, Whites Get Too Much Credit”


Former Ambassador Disenfranchises Racial Minorities On The Eve Of Independence Celebrations

We often mention that issues of race, racism and racial prejudice (of all colours) hover just below the surface in Barbados – even in the most mundane activities of everyday life.

As if we needed more proof that we have a long way to go on this island before we view ourselves as Bajans first without regards to skin colour – Sir Courtney Blackman, former Ambassador to the United States, gives an interview to The Nation News and disenfranchises racial minorities on Barbados.

On the eve of our fortieth anniversary as an independent nation, Ambassador Blackman has one eye on the past and the other eye on skin colour.

If he’s driving, nobody is looking at the road ahead…

“I don’t know why people keep on saying Whites control the economy,” he said. “It simply isn’t true. If Whites were controlling the economy, then we would have to give credit to them for the economy doing so well over the last 40 years. I believe we have done well because successive administrations have followed policies, which have benefited the vast majority of Barbadians, and the vast majority of Barbadians are black. I would give credit to successive administrations and not to a few white people.”

The former Governor of the Barbados Central Bank said he believed Barbados was the best managed black society in the world, a rating first articulated by Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent.

Blackman expressed doubts that if Whites were really in charge, Barbados would be in its current prosperous position…

… read the entire article in context at The Nation News (link here)

Ambassador Blackman may have been trying to give another message, to inspire or to chide – but for myself, a man whose family is all the colours of the rainbow, Mr. Blackman is still viewing Barbados and the world primarily through the narrow prism of race.

I understand where he is coming from, and God knows he has the right, but the future for all of us who love Barbados must belong to a different vision.

… our thanks to BFP reader Mike for the tip.


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Politics & Corruption

29 responses to “Former Barbados Ambassador To The USA: “Whites Are Not In Charge Of Barbados’ Economy, Whites Get Too Much Credit”

  1. John

    Sir Courtney Blackman is too logical and too right for Bajans to understand!!

    The constant harping on colour I believe comes from the same politicians who then turn around and pat themselves on the back and say how well they have managed the economy.

    I have always wondered why a politician would rant and rave about white people owning the major resources of the economy as though it was something awful and the only conclusion I have been able to reach is that they are so insecure that they need division among people to divert attention from themselves … and we keep falling for it.

    We are a mess of contradictions, we stand for nothing so we fall for anything. Our own people divide us.

  2. passin thru

    “Our own people divide us.”

    Thank you, John, for five words of truth.

  3. West Side Davie

    John, I agree with both you and BFP. Blackman has revealed a truth that the politicians and some others like to have it both ways. The black politicians are doing a great job managing the economy, but (oh by the way) the evil whites control the economy. Can’t have it both ways!

    I also agree with BFP that Blackman has ignored any other bajans except blacks. He has as much as said that no one else except those with dark enough skin are part of his Barbados.

  4. Really???? Well me must all have different meanings of “economy” or maybe it is being used correctly by Courtney, John, Pat and others who agree, and used incorrectly by those of us who don’t.

    My guess is that Freundel understanding of the Planter/merchant class since 1941 is not real, my guess that Ernest Deighton Mottley cornbeef and biscuits politics (the exchange of goods and services for political support) did not exist. My guess is that Liz Thompson’s 1999 election boast about all the fridges and stoves ect. that she used to buy her election vicitories were finance out of her pockets. My guess is that the Mutual affair did not happened. My guess is that the concept of the so called “white shadows” is but a figment of the imagination. My guess is that the concept of “Old money” is not real.

    Let’s understand what Courtney means by “Control” and what he means by “economy”

  5. John says:
    November 28th, 2006 at 3:59 pm
    Sir Courtney Blackman is too logical and too right for Bajans to understand!!

    ….because Courtney’s logic and rightness is his and shared by a minority. His so called truths is at complete odds with our everyday realities. You can’t change reality with mere words.

  6. West Side Davie is such a BFP groupie…

  7. West Side Davie

    Groupie? Moi? C’est impossible!

    Je ne sais pas etre un groupie. J’ai seulement une femme… en meme temps.

  8. De Orginal

    Is he logical ??? I might not be an expert but what does he have to support his theory?? Just a few questions can anyone help me?? I await some responses.


    Dream on!
    Name me the top money earners in Barbados.
    Name me the top money earning companies in Barbados.
    Any similarities?
    Come home Dr Blackman. Maybe your perspective vis a vis who controls the economy will change.
    Then again, you may become a “creature” of whoever pays your consultancy fee..oops maybe then you will not change your perspective after all!

  10. c’etait tres mauvais. Mais Maintenant, Je pense que tu est une groupie Alors ferme la bouche

  11. Rumplestilskin

    I see a bit of a calypso here….

    Da la ling da ling, da la ling

    Who control de BS&T…
    Who control CBC T.V.
    When I look I see one thing
    But if you really want to know

    Ask Court….ney

    Who building de condo…miniums
    Who building de flyover for mill…ions
    When I look I see one thing
    But if you really want to know

    Ask Court…ney

    Who it is building de fancy Marine Ports
    Who it is running de Air..port
    When I look I see one thing
    But if you really want to know

    Ask Court…ney

    What he say, don’t seem de same I see
    But may, just maybe he see real..ity
    He say who run de econ…omy
    If you really want to know

    Ask Court…ney

    Da la ling, da ling da la ling

    I ask who run Broad Str…eet
    I ask who run Swan Str…eet
    When I look I see one thing
    But if you really want to know

    Ask Court…ney

    He like he know everyth….ing
    We like we know noth…ing
    When I look I see one
    But if you really want to know

    Ask Court…ney

    Ask Court..ney

    Yeah Man, Ask Court…ney

    Dal la ling, da ling, da lah ling, ling ling

    (c) Rumple

  12. Rumplestilskin

    Reality is all persons of all ethnicity have contributed to Bim. We can get into semantics, but there comes a time to move forward and develop.

    We cannot do that looking at the past. We are one, despite those who wish otherwise.

    We should look at upraising the poor and uneducated, raising the lot of all, giving opportunities all around, rather than pulling down what we have.

    Let’s move on. One love.

  13. reality check

    loved your poem Rumplestilskin

  14. passin thru

    Disposable Arts:

    Votre Français est terrible!

  15. John


    Much of the Barbados economy is controlled from outside, …. Trinidad.

    Most of St. John is owned by Clico.

    BNB is still called BNB , just has one B too many….

    Cotton Factory ……… gone

    Plantations Limited ……. gone

    BIM no longer exists!!

    The definition you look for of what the economy is eludes us all, …. me included.

    Try listing the companies and assets that have passed to foreign ownership and control.

    Sir Courtney is right. Whatever economy we have today has been a creation of recent efforts … what he missed is that we are yet to figure out what has happened to our country in the process.

    The instances you quote belong to a bygone era and are merely samples of techniques used to divide us!!

    Old money is quite real … Plantations, Cotton Factory were all instances of old money. Old money is still money. It can pass from hand to hand as easily as new money …. just needs a little facilitation!!

  16. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Barbados: Credit where credit isn’t due?

  17. Yam P][e

    ][ tell yuh boi, daz wat u call “eyes wide shut!!”= Ambassador Blackman.

    luv de song rumpledtilksin.

  18. Hants

    I wonder if sharkey would be good enough to tell us how he arrives at this conclusion.

    It would help if he could tell us who the 20 richest Barbadians are. Which companies in Barbados are the largest and who the Bajans are that own them.

    Prehaps this is his contribution to racial harmony now that he has let us Black Bajans know how rich and powerful we are.

    I am willing to accept that the assets of the 80 percent Black bajans adds up to more than the assets of the 10 percent white bajans but I bet the whites have more cash in the banks hither thither and yon.

  19. John


    If you added up the assets in Barbados belonging to both Black and white Bajans (even threw in the assets of the Bajans who are neither Black nor white) what percentage do you think the sum would represent of the entire asset base in Barbados?

  20. John

    “The former Governor of the Barbados Central Bank said he believed Barbados was the best managed black society in the world, a rating first articulated by Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent.”

    What a compliment to Owen, all the same the two gentlemen have alot in common!!

  21. Denzil

    Tourism is an area that challenges Dr. Blackmans assertions. Ninety nine percent of tourism dollars, foreign exchange and US$ hard currency goes directly to white people. I was at St.Pauls church the other day and noticed tour buses on land side and Harbour Master ship and white owned catamarans on seaside just pouring tourists into Harbour Lights. Harbour Lights and Boatyard etc not only nightclubs but all day and night operations including restaurants. But what was obvious was that there are no black companies in this set up. The white tour companies,hotels, cruise ship agents, large bus tour people just deal with fellow white companies for restaraunts,bars, nightclubs, shopping, fun cruises, attractions etc. All the money stays within that small white circle. No blacks are involved except low paid workers. Where are the big black tourism businesses. Are they blocked out by interlocking white businesses? Damm right they are.What is our black govenment doing about it? How can Blackman explain this?

  22. Red

    Let’s solve Denzil’s problem and discourage white people from visiting Barbados. It is sad to see people so blatantly concerned over someone’s colour. I would hate to think I get business, or not get business, solely because of race. I’ll have to see if Denzil is in my client database…

  23. John

    I always got the impression that much of the Hotel business is paid for in foreign exchange outside of the country.

    Maybe that’s a myth!!

    The point I think Sir Courtney is making is that he regards this (tourism) as a success and it is the result of the skilful management of the economy by our Government, which for the past 40 years has been black.

    We have always had tourism but we have never depended on it to the extent that we do now. This is all he reckons an outcome of the skilful management of our economy by what he terms a black government.

    What does our “black” government do, take a bow.

  24. Did it not occur to Sir Courteney that perhaps the white companies run their businesses so well that Black Barbadians also benefit?

    There are certainly plenty of black millionaires around us and in the tourist industry a lot of black employees are paid before any profits can go (stay) abroad.

    Even allowing for BS&T, COW, Clico, Macal etc. the financial reins are held by the banks and insurance companies, surely? Goverment should get the credit for enabling non-black enterprises to continue to flourish for the general benefit.

  25. Bajanboy

    I would estimate that 80% to 90% of the revenue of any tourism business is consumed by operating and other expenses. Even if the owners of a business are white, the high level of linkages between tourism and other sectors of the Barbados economy mean that everyone benefits.

    I know lots of white Bajans I know have regular jobs and have to struggle to make ends meet just like everyone else.

  26. Pat

    Is this not the Sir Courtney Blackman, formerly of the World Bank, the Barbados Central Bank, and the Man who said there IS no racism in Barbados? Or was it that whites and blacks were fully integrated and lived in harmony? Cheupse. I dont bother with anything that man says.

  27. Denzil

    Red your thongs like they knot up because of what I said. Well what I said is gospel truth. I know as Bajanboy asserts some tourism monies eventually find its way into many pockets because of linkages. But most of tourism dollars goes first to white people before taxes, labour costs etc kick in to spread it around. Like or lump it.

  28. De Orginal

    Well based on the news dem dollars aint spreading because the poor people still suffering. If you doubt me please read the link. Millions at Greenland dispite warnings from geologists and other several other but look at today’s Nation Newspaper This is first world Barbados.

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