When it comes to making a success of tourism, perhaps the most knowledgeable person on the island is hotelier and journalist Adrian Loveridge. We watched over the years as Adrian’s knowledge and organisational talents were initially embraced by the “official” government tourism sectors and the local media – only to be cast aside when he started to ask “difficult” questions that highlighted not only government incompetence but outright lies by the Minister of Tourism and others.
(For a typical Adrian Loveridge question, see today’s Barbados Underground article What Is A Reasonable Time To Wait For A Government Department To Respond?)
For the offense of telling the truth and being more competent than many government tourism officials, Adrian Loveridge was tossed off government committees, fired as a journalist and in the end threatened with death and the destruction of his hotel by government BLP supporters. The latest threats against Adrian made by BLP supporters using the comments sections of this and other blogs center upon Adrian’s white race…
“Kill the WHITE bitch!” say the BLP government supporters, “Chop off he rasshole head. Kill he f*cking wife. Burn down he hotel.”
Nice folks, some of those BLP government types.
But open racial prejudice is nothing new for our BLP government that frequently stirs up old racial wounds when politically convenient – or as an alternative to addressing the veracity of reasoned criticism.
As mentioned in past BFP’s articles, this racial prejudice comes right from the top government leadership: the Prime Minister regularly uses racial slurs in public speech (see here), the Minister of the Environment said during a debate on national television that no “Caucasian male” should dare to tell a member of the government what to do (see here) and the government’s BLP party website shows only one race of Barbadian – and only darker skin tones of that race. No Indians, no whites, no orientals, no mixed race folks. (see here)
The Barbados Government continues its support of Ikael Tafari, the Prime Minister’s appointed Director of the Commission for Pan-African Affairs, who time and time again has spouted racist positions. (see here)
Even David Thompson, the leader of the Opposition is often characterised as “white” by his opponents as the worst thing they can think to say about him. (See BFP’s Barbados Government BLP Agent Plays Race Card. Calls Opposition Leader “White”, Equates With British Slave Owners)
It is one of the dubious talents of the present Barbados Government that Ministers they can smile and shake the hands of white and asian investors in the afternoon and then curse them for their race at a political rally in the evening.
If the outside world only knew!
But that is the reality at this moment in Barbados, and the BLP government does its best to fan those old flames of racism every time an election comes around.
Adrian Loveridge is unelectable in 2007 Barbados because of his white race – and that is a shame because it is Barbados’ loss and not Adrian’s loss.
Unlike so many of the government’s “experts”, Mr. Loveridge has actually proven for decades that he is a success in the tourism industry. His Peach and Quiet Hotel is consistently highly rated by such respected organisations as Trip Advisor and is often featured in foreign travel publications – for free we might add. No multi-million dollar advertising budget for Peach and Quiet, yet his hotel handily outperforms the larger government subsidized operations every season.
It is truly a shame that under the present government, talented people like Adrian Loveridge are often excluded because of their race. Perhaps that would change under a new government, perhaps not. There is much history and some very bad history that we all have to live with – but we as a nation must be wary of those who seek to keep the wounds open for their narrow and selfish political purposes.