High-profile inter-racial couple, Ralph “Bizzy” Williams and wife Shelly, is urging the black Barbadian community to get up and do things for themselves instead of waiting on others to come and take action on their behalf.
The prominent business duo made the call in the wake of a raging controversy related to the recent search for 49-year-old, Karen Elizabeth Harris, who was reported missing on February 27.
Following the disappearance of Harris, a white Barbadian, a 300-strong search party, comprising soldiers, police, other rescue officials and a large contingent from the white community, launched a massive search to locate her. She subsequently returned home safely.
The search response triggered a heated discussion with many Barbadians criticizing the Royal Barbados Force in particular and suggesting that the same level of interest should be shown when black Barbadians go missing.
Following the debate, a similar search exercise was organized last Sunday for 31-year-old Sidneato Holford who has been missing since January 14. Holford was not found.
Referring to the large-scale search for Holford following the controversy surrounding the search for Harris the week before, Mrs. Williams remarked: “Out of every bad there is a good”.
“This is not something that happens in Barbados normally, but now it has opened our eyes in the [black] community of getting together and making a change,” she said.
“It breaks down to what is happening in Barbados right now. Everybody is going on about the Government is not doing this and this person isn’t doing that. It is time we take our own responsibility and see what we are doing as a Barbadian, an entrepreneur and
as a businessperson.
“What are we doing? Are we corrupting our own society or are we moving our own society forward?” Mrs. Williams asked. “We can’t move forward unless we stop looking at each other and decide we are Barbadians and we are going to do our own thing.”
Opting not to say much on the issue, Mr. Williams said following the heated discussion surrounding the search for Harris, his wife suggested that ‘if the white people organize themselves to go and do a search for this girl, that is their business. Don’t quarrel with them when a black girl goes missing and no black people are motivated to go and organize a search for her’.”
Picking up the discussion from her husband, Mrs. Williams said given the number of black people on the island, it should be easy to organize searches when someone goes missing whether black or white or any other race.
She added: “Why do we have to say ‘if a black [person] goes missing, I want to see how many white people will show up”? That is nonsense. We don’t have to be helpless. We are not. We are big in numbers so we don’t have to wait for the white community, or the Indian community, or the Chinese community to do something.”
Mrs. Williams continued: “Within our own black community where there is plenty, we can organize amongst ourselves. We have people that are capable of organizing and we can do something. We do not have to wait on any other race to do it for us.”
Making clear she was not racist, she added: “If one of my people, as in the black community, goes missing and I feel the need that I am going to go out and organize, then I would organize. I organize business all the time. So I am not going to look for Bizzy to say he has to come or to [any other person].
“We need to take some responsibility as the black community. That is the problem. We are all looking at each other and saying ‘how come they not doing this’. I commend the white community for getting together – half of them didn’t even know the lady – and making it happen, working with the police and going out there,” she added.