Our Readers' Opinions
November 12, 2013
Trust betrayed – In business, never rely on a friend

Tue Nov 12, 2013

Editor: The following article is a true story of my experience as a businessman.

In the days when I played music, I still wanted something to fill a blank space in my life. I fell in love with the export trade and decided to start shipping peanuts to the neighbouring countries, which included Guyana.{{more}}

One day, I mentioned to my old friend Daniel Johnson (deceased) what I intended to do. Immediately and before I even asked, he volunteered to help and guide me throughout the process. I miss this gentleman. He was a tower of strength to me. (May he now rest in peace).

You have been hearing the construction engineers at the Argyle airport talk about “Johnson Hill”; my friend is the gentleman to whom they refer. He lived on the hill at Mt. Pleasant which has been removed to accommodate the airport.

Due to the lack of storage space, I had to wait until an order was placed for the peanuts, then my friend Mr Johnson will identify the grower and go along with me to take over the negotiations. Mr Johnson used to make the seller open one or two bags which were chosen randomly by him. He had the nuts thrown on the floor for sampling and inspection to determine whether they were fit for export. Thereafter, we would remove the nuts and stow them in a room at Colonel Anderson’s premises at Mt Pleasant. I certainly did express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the Colonel for allowing us to stow our nuts in his building until they were ready for shipment.

I actually made shipments to the various islands and included Guyana, from where I got my biggest order of 50-100lb bags. Normally, I shipped just 10 to 20 bags at a time.

On one occasion, I received an order from Antigua. This time, I decided not to bother my friend Mr Johnson, because I knew the gentleman from whom I decided to purchase the peanuts very well. He was a Justice of the Peace and I was comfortable shipping the nuts without inspection.

Sometime thereafter, I had the occasion to take my band “Rythmaires” to Antigua. It occurred to me that it would have been a good opportunity for me to introduce myself to the purchaser of my peanuts, and so I did.

After my arrival in Antigua, I made the necessary enquiry and proceeded to the gentleman’s office to introduce myself. “WHO TELL ME DO DAT?” When I greeted him, I told him that I was the person from whom he bought his peanuts from St Vincent. He glared at me with eyes wide open, called someone by name and shouted: “LOOK DE MAN FROM ST VINCENT WHO SOLD US DOSE DUTTY PEANUTS!”

I asked the earth to open and take me in, but it wouldn’t. I am unable to recall what I said to the gentleman, but I do remember leaving the office with my head bent and eyes focused on the floor.

This experience taught me that in business, never rely on a friend.

Raul U Soso