We marching!

Williams Group; Automotive Arts to call out workers

Some of this island’s leading businesses, including one of the largest private sector groupings, are on board with Monday’s national march called by trade unions and the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA).

However, Chairman of Williams Industries Inc Ralph Bizzy Williams is making it clear that the action being taken by his company is not in support of any political party, but “just to impress on Government that we want to meet urgently to find a better way to close the fiscal deficit”.

While complaining that the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) was causing “bare confusion with our accounting systems”, the prominent businessman also charged that the recent increase in the NSRL from two per cent to ten per cent was equivalent to increasing the 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax to 27 per cent.

In support of Monday’s march by members of the BPSA and the labour unions, Williams told Barbados TODAY he would be closing all but three of his companies – Ionics Fresh Water Limited, which is a desalination plant; Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre, which handles garbage disposal and Big Gases Limited, which supplies oxygen to the hospital – which he said could be considered “essential services that should not be disrupted”.

“We are not political. All we want is a system of taxation that is simple to apply and fair to everyone,” he told Barbados TODAY.

Late this evening, Barbados TODAY also received a copy of communication sent by Chief Executive Officer of Automotive Art Douglas Armstrong to members of staff advising that the company “fully endorses the initiatives of the BPSA” and would therefore be closing its to facilitate participation in the march.

Douglas Armstrong and Ralph Bizzy Williams

“As a result, staff are advised that they will be relieved of their duties with full pay on the day of the march and are encouraged to join the protest march in uniform,” the message from the CEO said.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to make their respective voices heard, and send a message to Government that [it] must engage its Social Partners in order to develop a sustainable path forward for the country.

“For the love of your country, and the future of your country, come and make your voice heard,” Armstrong appealed, adding that regular business would resume on Tuesday, July 25.

Barbados TODAY also understands that similar communication was sent to workers at Caribbean Label Craft, which is a member of the Goddards Group, as well as to other private sector employees on Friday.

However, not everyone in the business community seems to be on board with Monday’s march.

This afternoon, Executive Director of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Carlos Wharton said in a statement to members that although the BCCI’s Council was in agreement that “dialogue with the other Social Partners is important, we do not believe that this march should have been the first course of action taken”.

However, Wharton said the BCCI Secretariat had been instructed to inform members of the march, which takes place from 10 a.m. until noon.

When contacted, BCCI President Eddy Abed declined further comment on the matter.

However, Abed has been insisting on the need for tripartite dialogue, and for Government to explore alternatives to its recently announced austerity Budget, which he said “gives us the pain”.

But fed up of waiting for Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to respond to their demands, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union Toni Moore announced during a 1:30 p.m. press conference today at the headquarters of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) that the march, which is slated to begin in Queen’s Park, was a “united effort for all of us to show our commitment towards achieving what is best for Barbados.

“The trade unions of Barbados and the private sector have met and we have agreed on what we will like to term a joint action between ourselves, to have a number of concerns which we have in common addressed urgently.

“We’ve planned for a march on Monday where we will call on the wider public to demonstrate their support for the concerns which we have, namely that we should have dialogue and so on and all the things you’ve heard us calling for,” Moore said.

She was flanked by President of the National Union of Public Workers Akanni McDowall, BSTU President Mary Redman, executive member of the Barbados Union of Teachers Sean Spencer, BPSA President Charles Herbert and President of the Small Business Association Dean Straker at today’s press conference which followed a two-day public sector sick-out on Wednesday and Thursday.

Unionized workers have also been staging a work-to-rule in an attempt to force the Stuart administration to reduce the NSRL by 50 per cent after it was increased from two to ten per cent on July 1. Failing this, they have called on Government to accede to a coping subsidy, following its unveiling of a $542 million austerity Budget on May 30.

However, Herbert today stressed that Monday’s march was not intended to be disruptive.

“The idea is to minimize disruption and to maximize the visibility that the public has for our call [for tax relief]. There will be some disruption; the private sector will be asking its members where possible to close their businesses and to make their employees available to participate, should they wish to do so.”

The island’s main ports of entry and the state-run Transport Board were hardest-hit by action over the past two days, with arriving passengers were forced to wait for long hours in queues at Customs and Immigration. The Bridgetown Port has also been negatively affected by a go-slow with CEO David Jean-Marie telling Barbados TODAY yesterday that they were even contemplating shutting down operations altogether to prevent possible damage to its expensive equipment. Thursday’s sick-out also threatened to grind operations at the state-run Transport Board to a halt, as private public service operators were forced to step in and fill the void after the majority of the Board’s 100 buses were forced to stay off the road.

However, Herbert assured today that there would no further disruption caused at ports of entry.

He also assured that the state run Queen Elizabeth Hospital would remain operational on Monday and that local hotels would not be made to feel any ill effects from the scheduled march.

“We are trying to give a sense of priority to the fact that it is Kadooment and we don’t want to interrupt the tourists arrivals and tourist experience for Kadooment,” he said, while acknowledging that “nobody knows who is going to march until they show up to march [but] we are expecting full support and massive support”.


46 Responses to We marching!

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall July 21, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    I’m glad for the businesses that support the walk,. To those who refused to support they customers
    with all our spending power remove your businesses would also see a decline.
    With all the TAXATION we might only be able to buy food and pay bills.

  2. Tracy Brown
    Tracy Brown July 21, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Mi couldn’t read all of it too long…. anyway gimme a likkle work an mi come wid unuh…

    • Bajan Fahlife
      Bajan Fahlife July 21, 2017 at 11:30 pm

      When you have a job you have to read.

    • Tracy Brown
      Tracy Brown July 21, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      U couldn’t just scroll pass an don’t say nothing lawd u nuff eeee kmt..

    • Mark Smart
      Mark Smart July 22, 2017 at 12:08 am

      We speak ENGLISH here in Barbados. It’s a requirement for getting a job!!

      • Beautiful Beige July 22, 2017 at 7:21 pm


    • Tracy Brown
      Tracy Brown July 22, 2017 at 12:11 am

      Ugh!!! Why you want to take me on get lost I have a job an we speak English where I come from….strupsss

  3. Waiting July 21, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Finally, at long last some sort of heat is being applied to the avoiders of meeting. I was wondering when something like this will happen because by now you should know who you are dealing with. The PM telling us that he will meet was just a stalling act knowing that we talk a lot and do nothing! Cheers!

  4. Angela Griffith
    Angela Griffith July 21, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    I will support the walk

  5. joan worrell July 21, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    The plot will be revealed in the fullness of time. Union and union members’ employers in bed? Unheard of .

  6. joan worrell July 21, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Can you imagine employers telling the union to take strike action but don’t do anything to hurt their business and the unions saying
    ”Ok Sir”? Lord Have Mercy. We back to 1900

    • hewers of wood July 21, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Well said joan.

      • hewers of wood July 22, 2017 at 12:05 am

        This exercise will be FRUITLESS for the poor due to the overall agenda. Because you cannot mix big boy and small boy together. Big boy has two agendas – appear to be in solidarity with poor boy keeping he quiet, and to get out the party and put in he party and get all national organizations privitise to him. Small man feel good that big boy side by side aid he and understand he struggle. Poor man ain’t getting no where just TRENDING and staying POOR. Good stabilisation. Small man still can”t see the real problem. What happens when you put CREAM into COFFEE???.it weakens it. Problems solve.

  7. Eureen Gill July 21, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    Shut down the entire place

  8. Saga Boy July 22, 2017 at 1:47 am

    Look how the unions and supposedly intelligent black people getting lead down the garden path. Williams wants everything for himself and when he and his brother don’t get what they want they protest violently. Why is it that his employees are not unionized? I wonder if the same BWU attempted to unionized his employees what would be his reaction. I also hope that the next time employees strike at one f the companies now paying employees to strike they pay the same employees. These are men who try their best to kill black business and foolish black people marching with them.

    • hewers of wood July 22, 2017 at 4:52 am

      True to word saga B. Very FEW of this people will analyze anything. They like rubbing elbows with the BOSSES. Who hate them. And the big boys know all of this and hate the unions too. This is their golden opportunity to openly seek their own agenda. They should not March with the gate keeper.

      • hewers of wood July 22, 2017 at 4:57 am

        How u think we got into bondage in the first place. By being BEGUILED and gullible.

    • Randolph July 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Saga boy you are talking foolishness there is not a company in Barbados that treats its employees better that the William companies.

  9. hewers of wood July 22, 2017 at 5:01 am

    Leopards can’t change the spots. This is why they are able to keep on top. One set like bottom, and the other set like keeping them there.

  10. Saga Boy July 22, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Black people should stop and ask themselves why is it that the white people want to encourage them to March. If the march was about a more equal society would this be encouraged? If it was about giving blacks equal access to finance would they join hands with black people? Black people need to ask who is really in control of this country and what is it that whites and blacks stand to gain? Think before you March. This may get out of hand.

    • hewers of wood July 22, 2017 at 5:33 am

      Maybe it should get out of hand. True Freedom if fought for not given and that is why this people are STILL IT. Look at the true independence of the USA.

  11. Colin King July 22, 2017 at 6:36 am

    I will say this again, this Government has had its time and needs to move on.

    What is transpiring here though is not in the best interest of Barbados and its future.

    Private Sector and Unions “Ganging Up” against The Government!

    Stranger Than Fiction!

    If ever there was “An Unholy Alliance” then this is it!!

  12. Petra July 22, 2017 at 6:43 am

    What nonsense your minds are enslaved you will never get over this black and white thing that have your brains in bandage March on brothers and sisters for your right for a hearing and a right to have a say

    • Abe Sapien July 22, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      It will always be a “black and white” thing until black people are treated fairly by the financial institutions and across the board in general. The playing field should be level for all, but the history of Barbados precludes this…for “the haves” will always have and they will make sure that “the have nots” remain that way.
      Yes by all means march on, but have a clear understanding of the reason why you are marching. Do not march for a day off from work with pay !

  13. Colin King July 22, 2017 at 6:51 am

    There is more in the mortar than the pestle!

  14. Samantha Best July 22, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Wait to see what the unions will do when the privatization discussions come up and those same 5% expect to receive all the entities for little above nothing at the people’s expense.

    Anytime you see them march it is always something in it for them. What is the SBA’s position in all of this? The BAS’ position in all of this? The farmers’ co-operatives in all of this? And by the way what is the BLP’s official position in all of this?

    After we march and the ‘boys’ say we have to lay off workers what will the unions do? March again? Or hold down their heads and say “right massa, we know massa”!

  15. Roger Headley July 22, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Samantha Best if they lay off workers and use the Last In, First Out method all that will happen is all the persons that they brought on between 2013 and ongoing into 2017 should go first. Will this happen before elections – NO; After election, regardless of who wins?- YES

  16. Patrick July 22, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Finally the working class and white business owners have something in common…… politics and support for the opposition.

    We don’t drink in the Hatch Club together.
    We don’t play polo together.
    We don’t pay for Spartan and Empire together.
    We don’t play golf together.
    We don’t sit in the Grand Stand together
    We can be only floor workers at Carter’s and Williams business despite being 97%black and 3% white, They are few if any white managers at those businesses
    We use Downes and Wilson and Jones funeral homes, they used Lyndhurst and Bryans funeral homes.
    So I smell a rat anytime the unions and the whites marching together, remember the unions were formed because of the wages their foreparents were paying the blacks on the plantation

  17. Patrick July 22, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I want to see what position the BWU will take on wage increases for their workers after going bed with the Emmy.
    Also, the persons who were dismissed from Royal Shop, are they marching along with their friends and family members?

  18. Patrick July 22, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Did you see any white persons stranded in the bus terminal when the buses stroked?
    How many poor blacks were affected?
    Automotive Arts can close doors Monday and a worker can get an hour to do her own business.
    Not another cent of mine spending there

  19. keen observer July 22, 2017 at 9:17 am

    The private sector in Barbados have been price raping black Barbadians consumers for years. Some of them have inherited wealth from inheritance line to plantation slavery. Perhaps it’s time
    they make a contribution towards reparation of slavery.

    • hewers of wood July 22, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Keen observer – never happen. Read the same Bible they use to enslave this people and still working today. We are dealing with some well PROGRAMMED WILLIE LYNCH chip people. Education in Columbus as a hero is the problem along with self induced amnesia. They should have listen during the history class and APPLY LEARNING. some of this people like being at the bottom and smiling in the morning with massa. Talking all their personal business with him to get say sympathy. This lot report you at the drop of a hat. I worked with some like that.
      I believe everything works for a greater good. Once the dust settles and the shoe is tighter the blood shed may start.

  20. Saga Boy July 22, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Roger Healdley LIFO does not work like that. If you read the protocol you will see that other factors are taken into consideration like attendance, performance etc and then LIFO is applied.

  21. sandy perkins July 22, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I am all for this march,it’s time this government see that bajans are not taking this sitting down.Its time people stop with this black and white talk.I hope we soon get to put the fools out.GOD DON’T LIKE UGLY.

  22. Tony Webster July 22, 2017 at 9:56 am

    @Patrick. Wow! Three…THREE COMMENTS? You mussee sweatin’ bullets and soiling yuh pants…Cuddear..
    C U Monduh.

  23. Breadfruit. July 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

    joan worrell
    July 21, 2017 at 11:36 pm
    The plot will be revealed in the fullness of time. Union and union members’ employers in bed? Unheard of .

    Unheard of is a alternative fact

    duh did um to PM sandy in 92 or 93

  24. Breadfruit. July 22, 2017 at 10:58 am

    @ saga boy

    tell muh wha tools duh got in place that gine judge a public worker attendance and performance fairly and acceptable to de unions

    Roger headley right bout duh have to use de LIFO method.

  25. Adrian July 22, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I am not political when I cast my vote on election day either. It’s very easy to say you are not being political, one can only be judged by their actions.
    By the way if I don’t put on my uniform and join the march but go to the beach instead, would I be penalized on my next day back to work?

  26. joan worrell July 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    @ Adrian

    It doesn’t work like that. White people don’t waste money. Some of them have delegated a black sheep to lead the herd dressed in their uniforms which must display the company’s logo. Go to the beach? You mad or wuh? Oh my God, modern day slavery.

  27. Belfast July 22, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Wuhloos! Bizzy the PIG (People- In- Government ) Farmer wants a new litter. These runts sell-by-date have long expired.

  28. susan maynard July 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm


  29. Big Man July 22, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Massa calling out the Indentured servants and slaves to march while raking in millions of dollars and paying chicken feed for wages and the educated black people with no common sense marching with the Parasites, Sodomites and Slave drivers.

  30. Tony Waterman July 23, 2017 at 5:15 am

    I think that i am going to stop coming to Barbados for Vacation, and instead, go to Louisana, Atlanta, South Carolina, Misissppi, because the Racism being exhibited here is WORST than i would encounter in any of the LISTED Locations.

    May God Bless Barbados.

  31. Mark Adamson July 23, 2017 at 7:33 am

    The below is a copy of a recent Facebook post by me.


    The broad masses and middle classes of people of this country must start mobilizing and organizing a major transforming local movement to eclipse the oligarchies of this country.

    This is our chance to seize the moment!!

    Now, that the useless, redundant oligarchies are fighting amongst themselves, the broad masses and middle classes must use their common and strategic senses and do not be sidetracked by
    attending any ignorant march that has been planned for Monday, 24 July, 2017, by some representatives of the traditional business oligarchy and some representatives of the trade union oligarchy in this country.

    Indeed, July is a month that has had great significance for the mobilization of thousands of the masses, to a greater extent, and thousands too of the middle classes of Barbados, to a lesser
    extent, against historic fundamental wrongs in this country, and across the region and the world.

    Thus, at this time, the broad masses and middle classes must powerfully realize that it is these party oligarchs, these business oligarchs and these trade union oligarchs that do not EVER and WILL NEVER ever see them as their equal.


    So, why do these desperates of the oligarchies wish for us of the
    broad masses and middle classes to come out and do their physical bidding now?? Why??

    Well, when some of the business oligarchs were making their decisions some years ago to DISPOSE OF Barbados Shipping and
    Trading to Neal and Massy Ltd of Trinidad and Tobago, at a time when members of broad masses and middle classes of Barbados
    were in positions to take over this conglomerate, these oligarchs
    did not include us – and the workers – in their plans, and went right
    ahead and gradually dispose of it to the Trinbagonians – with the
    acquiescence of the then BLP government.

    A similar thing recently applied to the AMBEV take over of BHL
    Holdings right under this DLP government’s nose!!

    And applies to the corporate manoeurves that have been taking place with regard to the former Caucasian led A S Brydens and
    the Caucasian led Goddards Enterprises and their oligarchic
    Trinbago partners.

    Many of these people have NEVER EVER believed that black people ( and workers too) have the intellectual and psychological
    wherewithal to OWN and MANAGE major corporations in this

    They believe that black people are mainly in the corporate environment of Barbados to do hard, laborious, physical work, or to do mental intellectual activity but with no ultimate controlling
    powers over these companies that were led and established by

    Who remembers reading about the Mutual Affair???

    I wonder where David Comissiong is at this stage???

    So, I am warning the Broad masses and middle classes to rise up against any stupid march planned by the representatives of the
    traditional business oligarchy and the trade union oligarchy in this
    country, and that are involving of any cockfights between these

    Let us plan for DEMOCRACY for our Barbadian society.


  32. Savannah West July 23, 2017 at 10:31 am

    This is in response to a message circulating on social media about the rationale or in this case according to what is written in said message the racial motiviation behind the march slated for July24, 2017.  


    Lest we forget, July 26, 2017 will mark the 80th anniversary of the civil unrest that took place in this country in 1937.  Much of that unrest was attributed to the “social and economic conditions in Barbados…” at that time as unions were campaigning for better wages and better working conditions for workers.  Are unions asking for anything different now?  


    Let us be fair.  The riots of 1937 were lauded as necessary when the white plantocracy was deemed the group taking advantage of workers in this country.  Are we as Barbadians supposed to ignore the current situation and should we as a predominantly black nation stand up for justice only when the tormentor is white?  Or isn’t it worse when the oppressor is a “democratically elected government”?
    We also need to remember the similarities between this scenario and the 1991 scenario in which DLP members and trade unionist Evelyn Greaves, Sir Roy Trotman and Robert Bobby Morris marched against the 8% salary reduction hand in hand with other social partners.  

  33. Lee Farnum-Badley July 23, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Double double toil and trouble
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
    Fillet of a fenny snake
    In the cauldron boil and bake
    Eye of newt and toe of frog
    Wool of bat and tongue of dog
    Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting
    Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing . . . .

    Pray, what will all this brooding
    Barbados bring?

    Nothing but more suff’ring.


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