Former Senator Harry Husbands has lambasted Massy Stores for what he claims is blatant political favouritism shown by one of Barbados’ leading supermarket chains at the height of an election.
He made the accusations against the Trinidad-headquartered megastore based on what he said he witnessed with his “own eyes” on Sunday while shopping there. Husbands was speaking at a political meeting in Belleplaine, St Andrew on Monday night.
“On Sunday evening I went into Massy Supermarket at Warrens and I saw . . . . I am not talking about what somebody tell me, I didn’t see it on Facebook . . . I saw the Barbados Labour Party shirts being distributed in Massy Supermarket to the staff.
“I know the man and if anybody denies it, I will tell you who it is. I was at the cashier. I saw him come in with the big pile of red shirts under his arm and put them down on the counter. The cashiers were distributing them to staff and they had to take them. When they realized I was watching they took the shirts off the counter and put them down under the shelf,” he said.
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate for St James North stated that if Massy were using its stores as a distribution point for the campaign season, they should have shirts representing all the political parties in the upcoming general election.
“If you are using your supermarket to distribute T-shirts for a political party, distribute T-shirts for all the political parties. They should have yellow shirts distributing in there. UPP should be distributing in there, you should got [independent candidate] Natalie shirts in there. I am saying tonight to Massy if you choose a side and you lose, there are consequences. You have no right in this,” he warned.
The former educator told the youthful, energetic and attentive crowd to be vigilant of what was happening around them and to use Thursday’s poll to reject such behaviour.
“We have to be extremely careful. When I say to you what a slippery slope we are on, it is something that is not part of our history, it is not part of our experience. Where members of the business community are promoting a party you know what challenges we face. But we have an opportunity because we live in a democracy.
“We have an opportunity on the 24th of May to bring an end to all of this. And we will do it one X at a time. You see that hero worship, the dear leader, the loving leader in certain places. I fear tonight the way I see these red shirt people behaving, I fear should we be so foolish, should we be so unwise to put power in these people hands on the 24th we will live to regret it for years to come,” he said.
However, in a statement this evening in response to Husbands, the management of Massy Stores said it wished to “categorically state that it has not given any political party or affiliate permission to distribute any political paraphernalia within or on our premises.
“While we are aware of a related incident involving one of our tenants who sought to engage in this activity within one of our stores, this action was subsequently averted by the management of the store.
“We wish to reiterate that Massy is not affiliated to any political organization nor has it been engaged in the distribution of any political paraphernalia,” Massy said in its brief, three paragraph clear-the-air statement on the matter.