Their fields, their hills?
Thank you for reminding me of the article you carried October/2010 with regard to the theft of Graeme Hall and the Scotland District National Parks. I may very well have missed it or forgotten . Kismardin was kind enough to remind one of the BTI Coastal Master Plan that appears to have gone the way of so many other ill thought out propositions from the political clowns who masquerade as MP’s and government in the House of Varieties in Bridgetown.
You disagreed with my raising of race in the context of environmental/heritage/ancestral destruction that has visited Barbados in the past years. (Ed: article here) I raise race not in any not in any abstract or salacious manner for effect but because it is an integral and significant aspect when we speak of land and property ownership in Barbados.
The four century legacy of slavery/colonialism and post colonialism is imprinted and embedded deep into the soil of my island home. In the wake of such we have to the present a small white elite (increasingly in collaboration with foreign interests) that owns and controls the majority of of land, business, finance and industry and subsequently wields enormous power out of all relation to its size.
To deny this and not recognise that white and brown skins are still major currency in Barbados is to delude oneself and to do a disservice to those who seek to understand the rottenness and putridity of race, power, shadism and class in this post colonial statelet.
I would be the last to disavow or would wish to do so the role that white Bajans (some adopted) who have made and are making tremendous and valued contribution to the betterment of Barbados and its society.
May I cite a few. Of course the extraordinary T.T. Lewis a white Bajan man who cleaved not to his ethnicity but fought for and represented black working class Bajans. Mrs. Florence Daysh Federal MP, Richard Goddard farmer, environmentalist and warrior on behalf of our heritage the ‘whiteish’ Karl Watson (his description not mine) and of course our resident tourism expert.
There are of others. But please lets not be blinkered to a reality that slaps us across the face. Land and big property is owned and sold overwhelmingly by white interests, individually and corporately in Barbados. I do not deny that blacks too are engaged in selling of their little bits of choice lands for their thirty pieces of silver. Greed is not colour-blind as any fool knows.
Only recently the historian Trevour Marshall raised the issue of the scam of work permits, a situation that has been operational for years seemingly with looking askance and a connivance of the Immigration Department. Almond Beach Hotels not withstanding the overwhelming majority of these businesses are white owned. They are concentrated in the lucrative hotel and property management sector. So what one is trying to say in this discourse is that money, ownership of land, property and power is intimately connected to race in a place like Barbados. It is a cauldron that we would wish to deny at our peril.
We need not be the Bajan green monkey with hands over our ears because the message we are hearing is not one that we care to. It does not and will not go away
PS. It appears that there may be some celebration to be had as a victory at Warrens Roundabout maybe in the offing. The silk cotton and baobab trees may be saved. A huge thanks to be said to the young Brent Parris, Ms. Onway St. John, Karl Watson (as ever) and the Future Centre Trust.
Pity one’s enjoyment of this moment was spoilt by the idiotic and sexist claptrap uttered by one Dr. Nigel Jones comparing the silk cotton tree to an ‘old woman who has all her senses’, and the lickspittle duo of Mia Mottley and Cynthia Forde self publicising themselves.
Thanks for that Manjack. While I certainly understand the issue of hereditary fiefdoms and historical land and business ownership which is what we’re really talking about when it comes to race and land ownership in Barbados, I want to focus for the moment on one thing you just said:
“I do not deny that blacks too are engaged in selling of their little bits of choice lands for their thirty pieces of silver. Greed is not colour-blind as any fool knows.”
Manjack, as I see it, it’s not just “little bits of choice lands” that is being sold by Bajan blacks – and whites, Indians and Chinese. The ultimate control of private land in Barbados is not in the hands of the persons or companies that own the land. The control resides with the government and Prime Minister of the day who have the power and authority to approve changes to land usage.
Without permissions, Barbados land is worthless. With permissions, scrub land turns into gold. This ability to create wealth out of scrub land rests only with the government.
For four generations Bajan governments and individual politicians have used this power of land use permissions to create wealth out of land to subsidize and boost the economy – and often to pad the government officials’ offshore bank accounts too. It is a lazy way of wealth creation and because the land is finite it gets more difficult every year. For that reason the government of Barbados reneged on its pledge to set aside land for national parks at Scotland and Graeme Hall.
Instead of green space and parks, the land will be turned into money – some of which will be used to pay down government loans for Cricket World Cup and other follies, while much of the money will simply evaporate as it does ’bout hey. In the end we will have no National Parks, no public lands and no money.
But that is being done by our elected governments and politicians who are part of a larger elite group.
I still believe that the reasons why public land is being sold has nothing to do with race. I believe that the elite cartel that controls this is comprised of many races and skin colours. Black government, White business, Indian business, Black business and elites of every race and skin colour have a piece of the action.
But again, that’s my opinion and all of us appreciate and respect your position.
When I, Cliverton, think about the historical impacts of race, slavery and racism upon black Bajans, I think more about cultural and social damage and the historical inability of blacks to penetrate and join the controlling group of business and government elites.
Can we really say that black Bajans still have an inability to join the group of business and government elites that know how to create wealth and possess the connections and the authority to do it?
In my opinion, what used to primarily be an issue of race is morphing into an issue of class and elites. The black elites love to keep the issue of race front and center, because if they lose that the people will start to look more closely at the cartels that really control this little piece of rock.