As Barbados approaches its 50th anniversary of political independence, a senior Government minister is suggesting that a number of fundemental conversations must be had, including the touchy issue of race relations.
Addressing a political meeting here, Minister of Industry, Commerce, International Business and Small Business Development Donville Inniss called for national discussion on the place occupied by black Barbadians on the “totem pole” of the economy.
“There is no harm in having these conversations. There are some people who seem to think that to raise such issues is about being racist. Well, tough luck for them. Ninety per cent of the people in this country are black, but yet still, it is a perception, I do not have the emperical evidence because there is no study has been done in recent times, that they control ten per cent of the economy,” Inniss told the monthly meeting of his constituency branch on Sunday night.
“We have to ask ourselves if that is right. And if we think that it is not right, well what can we do about it? These are matters that we as branch members in this party must address,” he added.
Out of the proposed discussions, Inniss believes a clear vision will emerge for the country.
“You know the Democratic Labour Party was able to do what it did for Barbados leading up to independence and have taken us on this journey because we had strong men and women of deep intellect and deep thought who were prepared to sit together, have their arguments, differences of opinion, but emerged with a clear vision for the country.
“There is no harm in us sitting down within the branch, within the party itself and having these conversations,” he insisted.
“I will attend all of the fanfare, all of the public events, but what I want to attend is more conversations within the party about where we are taking this country. Then the party will dictate to us as members of the party, the candidates, what we have to do to take the country where the party thinks it should be taken,” Inniss added.
The outspoken parliamentarian also suggested that more conversations were also needed between the younger members of the DLP and party stalwarts, such as Sir Frederick Smith QC, former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford and former Cabinet members Warwick Franklyn and Sir Philip Greaves to get an appreciation of the journey travelled so that they would not become complacent.
Inniss advised the youthful members of the party and the constituency branch against sitting back and thinking of a sense of entitlement to benefits rather than seeing it as their responsibility to participate in the upliftment of the society.