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Blame yourself!

Bizzy breaks his silence on BHL saga

Barbadians will have only themselves to blame if another foreign entity is allowed to swoop up another one of this island’s leading conglomerates.

Breaking his silence today on the controversial bid by Trinidad and Tobago’s Ansa McAl and the St Lucia-registered SLU Beverages Limited to take over leading drinks manufacturer Banks Holdings Limited (BHL), prominent businessman Ralph ‘Bizzy’ Williams said the developments spring from the fact that Barbadians were simply too risk-averse.

“It [risk taking] is just not in [our] nature,” he told Barbados TODAY in an interview this morning at his Cane Garden, St Thomas office where he also suggested that the BHL take-over bid was likely to succeed.

He said the current aversion to risk taking was a real problem for the island that was not only affecting share ownership, but was also a contributing factor to recent business failures.

“Barbadians are risk averse. A dollar in the bank to them is solid money. A dollar in Banks Holdings . . . [I] bet you. . . as soon as the price settles down, everybody gine sell and put the money in the bank.”

Asked if the Williams Industries group which he heads would be willing to make a play for BHL to ensure that it remains in local hands, the wealthy business executive was adamant he was not interested in buying out the local conglomerate.

In fact, he said he was not interested in taking over any business that was already in existence since his company’s practice and policy was a pioneering one.

However, he complained about what he termed a “conspiracy” to stop local entrepreneurs like him from developing innovative ventures.

“You call it the crab syndrome; that is what it is!” contended Williams, who singled out the Town & Country Planning Department as one of his greatest sources of frustration as he seeks to reduce the flight of foreign exchange from this country through the expansion of solar energy initiatives.

He also lamented that the local Fair Trading Commission (FTC) has tied the price of alternative energy to the price of crude oil. Therefore, “the price of alternative energy produced by the sun that costing nothing, is varying with the price of oil,” he lamented.

Williams, who on Saturday received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies for his contribution to business, also said the issues could all be tied back to a problem of leadership in the country.

“I believe we need to set aside at least 50 per cent of all the alternative energy produced in this island to be produced by Barbadian-owned companies. But there is an old saying,’when the man head bad, the whole body bad’. And if you don’t have strong leadership, Errol Barrow kind of leadership at the head, you will wallow.

“. . . where there is no vision the people perish,” he added.

“Here it is we selling Banks [BHL], you selling out BS&T [Barbados Shipping & Trading], everything gone,” said Williams, whose holding company owns at least 19 businesses.

6 Responses to Blame yourself!

  1. Andrena Ceasar
    Andrena Ceasar October 23, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Now we got a say really we never had none before start to moan cause banks gone

  2. Bernard Codrington. October 23, 2015 at 8:32 am

    How come none of the 50% of voters who voted DLP are not investing? They do not own any of the money in the banks? The BlLP real powerful…in and out of government. Stop the blame game and get on with the business for which you were elected.

    • Justice for all October 23, 2015 at 11:59 am

      !00% in agreement with your comments.

  3. Joel C. Payne
    Joel C. Payne October 23, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Is he a shareholder?

  4. jrsmith October 23, 2015 at 11:28 am

    As I was saying for some , Barbados is there for the taking ,but not by bajans. bajans business attitude ,let some one set it up , take the risk and they become the employee. which is there for everyone to see,

    There must accept , the hair dressing and rum shop, souce and pigtail levels of business, beyond that they would be in over their heads. when it come to foreigners owning bajan businesses bajan should just shut up get on with it.

    Bajans also carry with them an attitude of jealously , against they own. when it comes to any form of business.
    that’s why the politicians in Barbados , say what they like, do what they like , when they like , treat bajans as second class citizens , making sure them the politicians , behinds are covered and that’s that. like it or lump it .that’s where we are at.

  5. Stephen Small-Warner October 23, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I’d bet my bottom dollar that Barbadians with saved money in the banks will be willing to take more risks if they’re better schooled on and understand better the opportunities with some of their hard earned dollars. Caution at not loosing all and not having the security of continued employment at home (in Barbados) and significant earnings from same, I’m sure, is a sure deterrent from making significant investments at home.
    Simply put, when no significant jobs exist and continuity of worthwhile employment varies from the political parties in power, one can only invest in a property and hold money in the bank for the day they’ll have no job, but need to continue shelling out money for housing, transportation, (repairs of same), food, children and their education etc.
    Currently, Barbadians are staying longer in schools to acquire the significant education to compete for jobs in Barbados. I’m sure the number of PhD’s, let’s just say those with terminal degrees have increased substantially and from the outside looking in, there are no significant job creation processes and significant pay for them. I’m amazed at the impact of seeing almost every writer in the newspapers having Doctorates which was not so in the past.
    Eventually, we’ll keep losing these learned folk to other countries. Gone are the days when many of the Barbadian populace were accepting seasonal job opportunities felling trees and cutting canes in the USA or finding jobs in Guyana. More so, they’re no significant jobs for returning nationals as there might have been in the past years…they too are impacted by competition at home, here in Barbados, and which people, political party, et al that are in positions to help them find employment.
    Except we clearly look at the above matters and stem the lack of creation of sustainable businesses with long term employment opportunities for our people, we’ll keep losing them to the rest of the world. Barbadian contributions worldwide remain insignificant to their business acumen at home. The precursor for use of this medium I’m using to say my piece was a Barbadian genius in paving the way for creation of the computer. Neither he, nor Barbados and its populace have been able to make the millions of dollars the rest of the world’s entrepreneurs have been able to make using the benefit of the computer.
    In a past quick review, I’ve found many instances where published letters to the press raised concern, provided solid information, suggestions and advice from Barbadians in and out of Barbados to our ruling parties, much of it ignored. Many years later, the ignored advice from those Barbadians, becomes the very thing our government(s) needs to do.
    Until we acknowledge and embrace our own quality education system and the foresight of those who provide quality information for the betterment of our island, we’ll be losing significant opportunities to become an outstanding Barbados.


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