BLACK PEOPLE DEMAND THEIR SHARE OF BUSINESS

BLACK PEOPLE DEMAND THEIR SHARE OF BUSINESS
Photo : Ramdath Jagessar

Philip Alexander is the latest addition to the demented chorus of commentators moaning how black people don’t control any sector of the economy, black people are powerless after  a half century of rule by their PNM party, black people are disrespected and at the bottom of the social and economic ladder.

Dr Selwyn Cudjoe is there too with his black man lament, saying in his eight part epic that “They do not control any substantial part of the economy and have no reason to believe they ever will.”

Count in the old Black Power gang with their cry that the PNM has left black people in a state of dependency while the other races move forward.  Their economic philosophy is that the resources of the country must be used for the benefit of the people as a whole, people ownership must be dominant, and the people must exercise effective control over the economy.

Not to be disregarded are the lunatic and openly racist black radio hosts hurling insults at the Indians, the Syrians, the French Creoles, and yes even the PNM as the culprits who have conspired to leave black people behind. Ditto for the social media sites and periodicals playing essentially the same “poor black man” calypso.

You ask what is wrong with these people? Are they ignorant, insane or just plain stupid? Don’t they know that black people control the entire public sector of the economy, that black people control how the $150 billion annual budget is spent? Don’t they know black people control the oil revenue, the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, foreign currency reserves, occupy most of the highly paid jobs in the government, the state enterprises sector, and soooo much more?

Sadly, Philip Alexander, Dr Cudjoe, NJAC, newspaper columnists, radio hosts and others of that `poor black man` religion are neither ignorant, insane or stupid. What then could be their aim, their long term plan?

They aim to nationalize private businesses in Trinidad and Tobago, and hand them to black people who don`t have control of such businesses today. It`s as simple as that.

They are building up the chorus to get the PNM to do the deed for them, in my interpretation of NJAC`s policy, `the (black) people must exercise effective control over the economy (including the private sector).

The calypso lyrics could read:

Syrian have big business, Chinee have too

French Creole have big company oh me oh my

Potogee and yes plenty Indian loaded high

What black man have but reams of dreams?

PNM must make them come true!

Sure I can make bad calypso like most of those alleged calypsonians in the tents every Carnival season, but I don`t think I am wrong on this one.

I call these folks demented because they are dangerous in their ignorance and blinkered demand for more for the black man. They are not concerned that the PNM opened up dozens of state enterprises, really just businesses owned by the state, and gave them to black people to run (down), which they duly did. They are not bothered by the BILLION dollar failure of the steel mill ISCOTT or the failures of the Workers Bank, National Commercial Bank  or the old Agricultural Development Bank  and Industrial Development Corporation specifically set up to give advice and loans to black people (that didn`t necessarily have to be paid back!).

Ask Philip Alexander how many black people who were given free farms and animals in Waller Field are still in the farming business today.  He will say that is an unfair question, that black people have been shut out of the culture of private business ownership. The prosecution rests in the case of why such black people should be given ownership or control of private business.

Black people`s ability to run private business is irrelevant to Alexander and his marabuntas. Economic history is irrelevant.

But aren`t the Syrians and Chinese a part of the people of Trinidad and Tobago exercising their right to own and control part of the economy? Who stopped the black people from opening up private enterprise businesses over the last century?   Who gave special assistance to the Syrians and Chinese who arrived penniless in Trinidad?

It`s all irrelevant to Alexander and his dumbbells with their sheep-like Animal Farm chants of  `Black man good, Syrian man bad.  Black man good, Chinee man bad.`

If you think this is a caricature, read these actual quotes from a recent email from Philip Alexander on the Syrians and Chinese:

`Without having enough population to influence a seat much less an election by votes, the Trinidad Syrian community has taken control of the nation's food importation industry, the fast food industry, they control the lion's share of supply to the public health sector, the alcohol industry, are closing in on the baking industry, and are almost finished consolidating control of the construction sector.

`The Trinidad Chinese whose number also cannot influence the outcome of a local election much less impact the national vote control vast sections of the supermarket retail trade, entertainment, finance, and own most of the media. Like the Syrians above they control major state contracts, and are massive players in the electrical, plumbing and hardware industries.`

You would think these Syrians and Chinese are foreign invaders stealing our resources, instead of loyal Trinidad and Tobago citizens who have lived here for decades and gone to school with us.  Just because they are a small segment of the population, does that disqualify them from owning the food importation industry, the baking industry and the supermarkets?

I notice that Alexander, Dr Cudjoe or NJAC are very coy and don`t mention Indians in business along with the Syrians, Chinese, French Creoles or Portuguese. What`s going on? Surely Indians own a large share of private businesses in Trinidad and in Tobago too. Can Helen Bhagwansingh and chicken magnate Ramkissoon and Seereeram Brothers and Maraj Jewellers relax knowing they are not on the hit list for nationalization? No way, Jose!

Alexander and company (just a little business joke here!) are not mentioning Indian businesses because they don`t want to `wild` them too early. Indians are too big to scapegoat at this stage.  They can`t be hit with the tag of too small in population to own so much big business! The black nationalizers want to hit the Syrians and Chinese first, and when that is done without too much fuss, they will come for the Indians. 

Does anybody think that businesses which have been quietly supporting the PNM will be spared nationalization?    I don`t.

We all know the perilous state of black people in Trinidad and Tobago, so let`s not go into that. But we should recognize that black people are responsible for most of that, not the Syrians, Chinese, Indians or other racial groups. It is after all, the black people`s party the PNM that has ruled the country for most of the last 60 years. Black man must plant his own mango tree and stop believing that raiding the neighbour`s Julie mango estate will solve his problems.

So what then is the point of this column?  It`s just to say for the record, don`t say I didn`t warn you. Alexander and the marabuntas are not so clever  that an old fool like me can`t read them from two thousand miles away. 

Sometimes when the shepherd boy cries wolf there`s really a wolf at the door dressed up in suit like Professor Dr Selwyn Cudjoe or in dashiki like Aiyegoro Ome or without a khaki pants to cover his rass like Philip Alexander after losing his deposit!