Prominent Barbadian businessman Andrew Bynoe says he is prepared for the backlash but it’s time the Mia Mottley administration publicly condemns the United States Government for the killing and mistreatment of its black citizens.
Bynoe, who owns the A-One Supermarkets at Carlton Black Rock and Emerald City in St Philip says he stands by a bold blackout advertisement he placed in the Press because he is angered by the continued systemic racism faced by blacks in what is supposed to be the world’s leading democracy.
He stressed that his stand was no bandwangonist move. Yesterday, thousands of Barbadians blacked out their social media profiles to demonstrate their disgust following the daylight killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died at the hands of police officers just over a week ago. Floyd’s death has led to nine straight days of demonstrations across the United States, while thousands have also taken to the streets in European cities as well as in New Zealand.
Bynoe, a high-profile member of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI), a Rotarian and philanthropist, told Barbados TODAY he was not afraid of any backlash from his social and business alliances. He, however, acknowledged the generally conservative position of the local business class and Barbadians in general.
With the possibility he could face ostracism or even blackballing of his businesses, Bynoe said the issue was too important to remain silent and suggested that there was still a level of racism in Barbados.
He said he has always been conscious of the impact of racism as he recalled his own experiences as a young adult living in England and even read from two poems he wrote at the age of 19 lamenting the horror of racism he saw there.
“Government should raise the matter and feel the empathy for the black communities in America who have suffered all these years. I empathise with them. I have no difficulty at all [saying so].”
Responding to the apparent sidelining of Barbados’ Prime Minister from two important meetings of regional leaders including one with President Donald Trump at his private Mar-A-Lago property in Florida in 2019 and a recent meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and regional heads in Kingston, Jamaica, Bynoe remarked: “It is a risk you may call it, but it is standing on the side of truth. It is what the Right Excellent Errol Barrow taught us. It is what Errol Barrow stood for as an independent Barbados.”
He added: “I could see and hear Errol Barrow saying to America ‘enough is enough’. . . . We are all black. We have all suffered. We all go through the innuendos, even in Barbados. . . . We can all associate with the history.”
Furthermore, Bynoe called on white Barbadians to be more vocal in condemning racism. “White Barbadians should join. If most white Barbadians looked back at their ancestry, they got a lot of black mixed up in there. So yes, they should be joining.”
Asked if he feared being targeted because of his statements, Bynoe said: “No. I know where I stand. Let it be.”
In the notice Bynoe published, he wrote: “I could be one or I could be one of many. Whatever the case, I will say it is time our Government tells America Black Lives Matter. All the countries of Africa; all the countries of the Caribbean, stop cozying up to the White House. Tell America Black Lives Matter.”
On Tuesday, which was dubbed Blackout Tuesday around the world, individuals were urged to support the cause while Black Americans were told to withhold spending on that day.
Many high-profile individuals and businesses in Barbados blacked out their social media pages on June 2. These included City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union, Woolworth Store and Chefette Restaurants, while some current and former politicians, small business owners and executives replaced their social media profiles with empty black spaces.
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