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Busy Bizzy

“I was born inquisitive, so the inquisitive nature leads to things; you want to learn more all the time.” 

That pretty much sums up businessman’s Ralph Bizzy Williams’ approach to life.  

It also helped that his parents didn’t see the point in buying toys for their nine children, but instead encouraged them to make their own. While some children today may think it unfair, Williams saw it as his good fortune, as it allowed him to be creative. 

“You know, desire will cause you to do things. So whereas my cousins’ parents and grandparents would buy them stuff, I would have to make my own,” he told Barbados TODAY

“I have this feeling that the biggest mistake that parents make these days is to smother their children with too many store-bought toys. Because it’s a fact that easy come, easy go. If you don’t have to work for it, it means nothing.” 

His creations included toy boats and trucks. 

“In those days, trucks took sugar cane to the factory, so I would build trucks out of wood. We had a guy working at the place that helped me make these things . . . and I would load it up with grass to simulate sugar cane, and make the wheels with shoe polish tops and the front of the truck where the engine would be, that would be a corn beef can.  

“I guess my mother would have been quite annoyed about the fact that her scissors kept getting very dull, but it was because they were cutting tin,” Williams reminisced.

As the last of nine children, Williams – as well as his siblings – had to make do with what they had, as there wasn’t much to go around.  

“I cannot remember the number of times I must have cried to get a bicycle, but there would be no bicycle coming from my parents because they were trying their best to pay for some land that they had borrowed money to buy and they couldn’t afford to buy us stuff. So my eldest brother saw an ad for paratroopers’ bicycles.  These were folding bicycles that paratroopers in the Second World War would carry on their backs when they were landing in Europe and so on to fight. So there were surplus bicycles and he imported a folding paratrooper’s bicycle and gave it to me. That was my first means of transport. 

“It worked very well until one day I was trying to show off in front of a whole bunch of people who were in the yard at Foster Hall to receive money on a Friday evening. I came home from school and I thought it would be very appropriate to show them how I could come into the yard and spin around and do a trick and so on, and the damn bicycle folded up. So I hit the ground pretty hard. [There was] plenty gravel rash and plenty of laughing among the spectators. So things were interesting in my youth,” he recalled.

Williams spent his youth exploring and creating, which laid the foundation for his success as an entrepreneur. 

He developed the local pleasure cruise business with the creation of the Tiami company. The catamaran business has since been sold and he no longer has any interests in that venture. He was also instrumental in establishing the Bushy Park race track in St Philip. 

“After racing at Bushy Park, we had to shut down the track because of the tremendous hike in the price of oil. It didn’t make sense or good PR to be burning up a lot of fuel at a race track when everybody felt that the world was coming to an end and the oil would soon run out. So I turned to work. I just worked for years . . . and that’s how Williams Industries got developed.”

He ran C.O. Williams Electrical and later formed Structural Systems Ltd. 

“We have exported buildings to every single country that has been hit by a big hurricane, and we have never had a failure in all the 40 years that the company has been operating,” Williams said. 

He later started BRC West Indies Ltd and branched out to BRC Jamaica and Caribbean Metals in St Lucia.  

His children, Stuart and Natalie, have followed in their father’s footsteps in becoming entrepreneurs themselves. Williams said he is proud of their hard work and achievements in their individual businesses.

Williams has won several awards for entrepreneurship, the latest being last Friday, when he was named among the recipients of the Barbados Jubilee Honours

“The awards don’t mean anything really.  My happiest day is when I can pay the staff a good profit share at the end of the year,” he said. “I enjoy helping to play a part in helping people to succeed.”

6 Responses to Busy Bizzy

  1. Phil December 1, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Awe come on Bizzy, I’m sure you bought ready made toys for your grandchildren. Even if it is Lego blocks. Imagine if you had learn to sew. Bizzy Fashions? Wow! Anyhow, you’re a thinking, resourceful and respectful gentleman. I wish you and Sir Charles would sit with me and let me show you how Barbados can reach the stage of earning US dollars 5 to 6 Billion in revenue. You can call me a visionary for the Bible says in Proverbs 29 Where there is no vision, A nation perish. Great article BT.

    Reply
  2. Helicopter(8P) December 1, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Well Bizzy that was a collapsible day for you on that para trooper bike. What a down to earth and humble story! I can remember back in 1969 or so; when you took a Mini Moke and turned it into a four by four. As I was always inclined to take a peep at your creations when i got to Bushy Park, I would come to your pit and question you on some of your modifications to your incumbent machines.

    Reply
  3. Alex Alleyne December 1, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    “Buy Land , it don’t go bad”. I once has a Teacher who keep saying to us ” if a day pass and you don’t learn anything, it’s a day wasted.
    Nothing about his super large real estate business.

    Reply
  4. Donild Trimp December 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Bizzy, Barbados is proud of you and Sir.Charles.

    The only disappointment is Red Jet not making it.

    Reply
  5. Tony Webster December 1, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    One more time: all “big businesses”…started small. It is a mill-stone around many Bajan “home-grown truths” that certain people “got money”….like they either were born with a golden soon in their mouth….or they robbed a bank….or a plane from heaven brings the stuff in at GAIA for then every month. The truth is that it all starts with a vision, a determination, nuff fortitude to overcome difficulties and to learn from mistakes, and to avoid licking it all out living too high when a few extra dollars and status are first achieved.

    There are many other exemplars in this country which are there for all to see and to emulate, but often these are caricatured in obnoxious ways, oft for rank political reasons, which achieves the exact opposite of what could -and should- inspire many other entrepreneurs to achieve sucess for themselves, and by extention, this country.

    Reply
  6. Mr. Straight-forward December 1, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Hello Tony, why so much circum-locution garnished with malapropism ??? Next time speak plainly so that others can understand. At least this time you have omitted those Capital letters !!!

    Reply

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