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Afrikans must boycott ungrateful T&T businessmen
Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Afrikan Option
July/August Issue No. 23

It is no secret that members of the business community has been, and continues to be, ungrateful and contemptuous to members of the Afrikan Community, despite the tremendous voluntary and or manipulative support, given to their business establishments by members of the Afrikan community.

For about the last 125 years or so, businessmen as an organized group, have displayed contempt and ingratitude towards members of the Afrikan community. They refuse to acknowledge the fact that the very existence of their businesses is because of the Afrikan's presence. However, it seems that the only time they acknowledge our presence is when we are at the other end of the hand that holds the dollar bills.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the Chamber of Commerce is the structured entity that controls our commercial sector, an activity which it has managed to manipulate for the 120 something years of its existence. It has continued to maintain the concept of a slave economy where the emphasis is on exploiting cheap labour, to ensure that its members reap maximum profits from their investments.

Plagued by the systems of colonialism and the ineptitude of neo-colonial politicians, who are petrified by the mere call for a change or our economic system; Afrikans have been caught in the illusion that advocates that there is equality of opportunity in our economic system…in keeping with the promise of our National Anthem.

The reality is that Trinidad and Tobago's economy continues to be controlled, as it has always been, by a small sector in our society, who owns more than 70% of the wealth of our nation. Another disturbing aspect of this unbalanced economic system, is the fact that most of these people who own or control this massive amount of wealth, belong to a few families.

Their for-fathers came into all Afrikan communities' selling their wares: from cloth and garment to house hold items…from insurance to real estate services, during the times when we lived on mere cents and pennies. However, the low value of our dollar ratings did not prevent them from laying the foundations for what have now become big business today, boasting of assets to the tune of hundreds of millions and in some instances billions of dollars.

Although these people have benefited enormously from our patronage, their actions convey the opinion that they would prefer not to, or have their product associated with anything Afrikan, apart from us being at the consumer level, despite the fact that their products only became successful, because we buy them and they take our money.

It is only natural to assume that a businessman would be grateful to all those who patronized his establishment, and would jump at the opportunity to show such gratitude. However, this is not the case where the Afrikan patron is concerned. It would seem that it is their view the Afrikan is duty bound to purchase whatever they sell, at whatever price they wish to sell him. Their fore-parents made the rules of politics and economics in this Region and their job is to ensure that Afrikans know their roles and act it to the letter of the script.

Another equally disturbing aspect of Trinidad and Tobago's corporate life is the role of the corporate Negro who is usually appointed based on their ability to implement the principles of colonialism. Their principal requirement is to be filled with self-hate and possess the ability to be very contemptuous to Afrika and things Afrikan. The corporate Negro particularly, the female, is the worst of the species. They exercise zero tolerance when dealing with anyone who attempts to advance any authentic Afro-centric programme.

The corporate Negro sincerely believes that anything that is symbolic to Afrika, is either demonic, or it is the source of extreme embarrassment to his or her newly acquired professional and social status. They are not prepared to tarnish their Euro-centric image, which affords them mini god status among lesser mortals, by associating with Afrika. Such an association would mean automatic disqualification from the Guest list for social functions.

While these androids strut around the corporate corridors feeling very important because they have secured a space in Massa's chamber, because they have been able to effectively implement the anti-Afrikan agenda; they are totally oblivious to who or what gave them the opportunity to move from Bell boys and Tea-maids; from janitors and bartenders to skilled professionals. Their transition from the fields to the offices was made possible because of the struggles of Tubal Uriah Butler and Makandhal Daaga.

One would assume that those who have been afforded an opportunity to contribute to the development of their people would be willing to comply; this is not the case with the corporate Negro. When they are employed in the private sector they behave like guard dogs, while in the public sector they convey the attitude that the State' assets are their private estate to disburse as they see fit.

The time has come when members of the Afrikan community must decide on a strategy to deal with the contempt and ingratitude of the business sector. We must also, decide on the type of action that we must take against those who play the role of corporate Negroes both in the private and public sector.

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