Our Readers' Opinions
July 29, 2016
Decision to evict Ann Joshua is victimization

Editor: The decision to evict Ann Joshua from Cobblestone Inn is a blatant case of discrimination and victimization – pure and simple.

I find most disturbing the attempt to justify and cover up this most wicked and evil action with explanations which persons with the most basic knowledge of commerce will describe as disingenuous.{{more}}

I am not one of Anne Joshua’s friends. What is happening to her, however, reminds me of the findings of an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) report on The Situation of People of African Descent, which was submitted to a Caricom Summit in St Lucia four years ago. Among its commissioners was Professor Rose-Marie Bell Antoine, who now heads the Caricom Commission on Marijuana, which held a consultation in St Vincent and the Grenadines recently. The IACHR report concluded, among other things, that entrepreneurs in these parts, who are decendants of African slaves, inevitably faced institutionalized and other forms of discrimination in the pursuit of their business goals.

I often wonder whether it is the official policy of the current Government to stifle the growth of entrepreneurship among the “People of African Descent” and clip the wings of those who attempt to soar. Entrepreneurs such as Monica Ross, Leon Samuel (Bigger Bigs) and Ormiston Ken Boyea are among those who have already suffered. There are many others.

I do not expect an outcry from persons who in times past were vocal on such matters. Slogans such as “Black Power” and “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” have long been buried. I believe, the progressives (a description some prefer) are awaiting manna from heaven. This “manna” has been blandished, first in the form of a new constitution (a ‘pig in a bag’ that was correctly rejected by the Vincentian electorate), then repa­rations. The latest ruse is marijuana. What’s next? I refuse to be taken in by these distractions.

There are those who still believe that church leaders will eventually speak out. I have my doubts. The lame response to the Prime Minister’s “cast the first stone” (my description) correspondence to the Christian Council, during the last election campaign, was most instructive. What does the Prime Minister know?

I am calling for the intervention of Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Sir Vincent Beache, Mr Arthur Williams and Mr C I Martin in this Cobblestone Inn matter. Without going into details, it is my humble opinion that these persons can individually and collectively convice the powers that be to withdraw the eviction notice. It makes much more business sense and it will be more beneficial to St Vincent and the Grenadines for the Government to enter into a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) with the current operators of Cobblestone. I maintain this view, despite recent statements by former Prime Minister, Sir James Mitchell. I find it amazing that he has readily conceded that he does not know the value of Cobblestone, but is offering ridiculous “advice” to Anne Joshua, whose worth and value he does not know. I do not trust him.

Thankfully, Ms Joshua is fighting her case. My wish (without apology) is that she engages the services of an elderly, white, English QC with generations of wealth in his/her family, to lead the legal side of this struggle. I’m sure she will receive assistance toward making this possible. A lot is at stake here, including the possible reversal of the gains made by the descendants of African slaves, especially in wealth generation. Massa Day must done!

Bernard Joseph