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Bigger’s victory is a victory for black business in SVG

Bigger’s victory is a victory for black business in SVG

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EDITOR: Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel’s recent court victory, is a victory for black entrepreneurship everywhere, especially in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Black entrepreneurship in our country is under siege. A “bewitched knee” is on its neck. “I can’t breathe”, is the cry of every black entrepreneur who is suffocating.

Why are the voices of Vincentians, which are rightly loud in the condemnation of the treatment meted out to George Floyd in the United States, silent on the discrimination against our very own Bigger Biggs? 

Why do so many of us have no hesitation in attaching the label “racist” to the accused white killer of George Floyd, but are swift to condemn those who do likewise to the powerful perpetrator of the discrimination against Bigger; based on the perpetrator’s own actions and utterings? I detest such blatant hypocrisy and dishonesty.

I become nauseous whenever I hear the expression: “We are living in a homogeneous society”. I had reason to challenge this view almost one year ago. In a missive to the Ministry of Trade. I asked: “If we are living in a ‘homogeneous society’ then why, as a black entrepreneur, am I being/have been discriminated against by state institutions and agencies, such as the Ministry of Trade, Invest SVG, the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC), the Tourism Authority, the then state-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) and the National Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (NTRC), just to name a few?” I’m yet to receive a response. 

In the e-mail to the Ministry, dated September 25, 2019, which was captioned: “Exporting Caribbean Creativity” and copied to several individuals here and abroad, I made reference to the ‘Report on People of African Descent’, which was commissioned by the Inter-American  Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The report was launched at a CARICOM summit, which was held in St Lucia in July 2012. It virtually debunks the view of those who want us to believe that we are living in a homogeneous society. Those of us currently engaged in the battle against racial discrimination in our country and elsewhere, should lobby for the report to be placed on the agenda of the 2020 CARICOM Summit, which is scheduled to be held here in September. That report is even more relevant now, in light of the fierce worldwide struggle against racial discrimination. 

We should ensure that Bigger’s battle against discrimination is officially integrated into the current international Black Lives Matter campaign. We must rally around Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel. We have our own George Floyd here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Writing in the June 12, 2020 issue of this paper, Vincentian historian, Dr. Garrie Dennie, wisely reminded: “For lest we forget, the virus of racism that has deeply corrupted American society has never been a peculiar American disease. Rather, white supremacy, which is the father of modern racism, was born in the hellholes of the slave ships that brought Africans to the Americas…” Thanks, Dr. Dennie.
   
Bernard Joseph

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