FORMER BARBADOS CABINET MINISTER DON BLACKMAN is expected to appear before a Commission of Enquiry in St Kitts/Nevis investigating controversial, multi-million-dollar property acquisitions on that two-island federation.
Sir Richard “Johnny” Cheltenham, QC is the commission’s legal counsel which is being headed by Britain’s Sir Thomas Sharp, QC.
Blackman, who has had links to the previous Nevis Island Administration (NIA) of former Premier Vance Amory that ended in July 2006, and has been labelled by People’s Action Movement Opposition Leader Lindsay Grant, as St Kitts Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas’ “favoured contractor/operator”, has been involved in construction and land-related business for over a decade on the two islands.
Remember Don Blackman’s Race Comments?
If you don’t recall the name, this is what the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) blog had to say about this former government minister: Source Virtue, September 21, 2007
Barbadians may recall that Dr Blackman coined such phrases as “white shadows and “aristocrats of the skin.” At a meeting in Haynesville, St James, he once threatened to “swing his cudgel with malice” against those of European descent who controlled the commanding heights of the local economy.
Hindsight has taught Barbadians that this empty rhetoric was only meant to inflame the passions of the poor in St Michael East and curry favor with local Pan-Africanists. Since leaving political office in 1991, Blackman has jettisoned his Pan-Africanist posturing and gone to bed with lilly white businessmen from the deep south of the United States of America and East Indians- racial groups he once claimed were the natural enemies of black people.
I can also recall widespread reports that Dr. Blackman said that he did not want to see a single black man without a job, if any white or brown person was employed. He was reported to extend this statement by saying that he did not wish to see anyone whose hair was slightly straight with a job, if a black was unemployed. I interpreted these statements to mean that a Minister of Government was advocating that all shades of Caucasians and Orientals be fired and their jobs given to pure blacks.
Many Bajans Offended
Dr. Donald Blackman’s comments were perceived as blatantly and offensively racist by a large sector of the Barbadian public. These statements were bad enough, but the situation was made much worse by the inaction of the Barbados Government at the time. What was the Government thinking? Did they stand behind Dr. Blackman’s statements?
Decades ago Dr. Blackman’s words were intimidating, but it was the silence of his ruling party that was downright scary. In today’s world, threatening members of ethnic minorities would probably be classified (in my opinion) as “hate speech”. In Barbados, it was not only tolerated, it was celebrated and supported by some locals wearing T shirts with a large photograph of Blackman, with the words: “I Support Don Blackman’s Philosophy”.
This hostile climate drove many Bajans of lighter complexions to leave Barbados.
The BLP blog says that Dr. Blackman has “gone to bed with lilly white businessmen”. It would be ironic if these businessmen were the ones that got him into this mess!