Out of a job as environment minister, Trevor Prescod, speaking again on his dismissal from office in the Cabinet reshuffle, appeared to hint at social forces behind his ouster as he accused some in high office of allowing “White shadows” in Barbados to do as they please.
In a fiery speech the MP, an outspoken Pan-African advocate, invoked the term often used to define powerful, White-dominated commercial and economic figures who are said to wield inordinate influence over the majority Black Government and population.
He declared: “As long as I am in this House of Assembly, sent to the House of Assembly by the people of Barbados I am not going to speak in any subjected way for the sake of any institution.
“I am here as the parliamentary representative of St Michael East and I will defend that until eternity. I didn’t cry. I didn’t agonise over it because I always believe that there is a future head. Nobody can’t truncate my mission or what I intend to do.
“There are a number of people in this country, which one of my friends once described as white shadows. These people hide in the dark, do all types of illegal things in this country and Black men who have been elevated to office allow these things to continue over and over.”
“White shadows” was first coined by Barbados Labour Party parliamentarian Don Blackman who then joined the Democratic Labour Party ahead of the 1986 general election which saw the ushering in of Errol Barrow as prime minister.
The firebrand Blackman was MP for the same constituency Prescod now serves — St Michael East.
Blackman frequently accused the BLP of having a huge influence on their decision-making process by rich White Barbadians who have inherited the wealth of slave-owning planters and merchants.
Prescod was not sitting in his usual spot in the Chamber but sat one seat away from Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley to whom he turned and directed comments towards throughout his speech.
Declaring that White powers that be are the “masterminds” of many decisions being made in Barbados, Prescod said: “I am convinced that these people mastermind all that you have seen going on. Because my intention is to make sure that wrong things must be made right in Barbados.
“I am not going to stop and if they are smiling tell them I am in here for three more years. As long as I am in here I will identify these forms of discrimination. I am no person who talks about ‘I don’t see colour’. I am not going to talk foolishness. Only a man without a brain would say he don’t see colour.”
Prescod urged his colleagues to use their office and stand up for what is just and right.
“These people and I know who they are and you know who they are,” he said. “We don’t own much land on the beach. These people want special privileges on our beaches. And men in here with muscles and testicles don’t know how to stand up and say it is wrong.
“You are going to have to come in confrontation with a number of systems, a number of institutions, a number of individuals if you are going to make change. We are here to transform in difficult times.
“I want my colleagues to be men. I want them to be women, strong men and strong women. I want them to be able to say right is right and wrong is wrong.”
The former minister said he will continue to speak out against social injustices no matter whom it offends.
He told the House: “ I personally believe that all those forces decided that this must be the end of this Minister of Environment. Well, I am sorry, I am sorry Barbados if you expect anything different from me it is not going to happen. So you can reduce me from minister to cash boy.
“I am not going to accept these things happening across Barbados. Nobody, no one human being can determine the end of my political career. I did not get a vote from anybody outside of my constituency. I came to Parliament to make a difference, I do not want to be the most efficient in a system that is rotten.”
Prescod made reference to a recent incident where a White man planted trees on a beach. He also spoke about the illegal dumping act by two men – one White and the other Black – near Hilton Hotel which was caught on camera. As environment minister, Prescod sanctioned the ordering of the men to clean up a mile-long stretch of beach in a bid to avoid criminal charges.
The backbench MP said: “Some people accuse me of playing a quasi-judicial role.
“As long as a White man has to pick up waste on a beach for doing exactly what the other Black boys do every day and are forced to pick up waste. It is common practice between at least two ministries; all of a sudden it was frontpage news.”