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Barbados - moves from from one colonial ruler to another.

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  1. #1

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    Barbados - moves from from one colonial ruler to another.

    Appropriate for the the day Barbados becomes a republic. A long read but an interesting article about Chinas investment in the country. (Coped and pasted as it may be behind a paywall)

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/l...hina-kqlqmjp39


    Turquoise waves crashed on a white, sandy shore. Hummingbirds flitted among the sea grapes. This idyllic stretch of Barbados coastline was once the domain of Sam Lord, a notorious pirate who built a castle with treasure pillaged from passing ships.

    The buccaneer, who died in 1844, would no doubt be baffled by the spectacle unfolding in the grounds of his overgrown residence last week. A sign in Mandarin stood at the entrance while Chinese workers in blue overalls and hard yellow hats were digging under a blistering sun. They were not searching for pirate gold.

    Far from home, and sweating profusely in the midday heat, they were turning the pirate’s domain into a vast new hotel and spa resort, part of a concerted campaign to win influence in what used to be known as the British West Indies.



    An increase in Chinese development projects, funded by low-interest loans to “little England”, as Barbados is often called, and other former Caribbean dependencies has raised eyebrows in London.
    It coincides with a plan by the island, famed for its rum cocktails, calypso contests and cricket stars, to sever its last colonial ties with the UK by declaring itself a republic on November 30. In a ceremony attended by Prince Charles, it will formally drop the Queen as head of state in favour of an elected president.


    Some observers are wondering, however, if Barbados is dumping the symbolic British monarch in favour of a real and formidable emperor in Beijing.
    At Sam Lord’s Castle, as the resort will be called, two Chinese workers waved and smiled from a cherry-picker as I approached them in the hope of finding out more about China’s activities. “No English!” they replied. A grim-faced foreman appeared, ignoring my questions.


    The presence of Chinese labourers — I counted at least a dozen without entering the main building development — in a country trying to boost employment among its own population is a sensitive issue.
    So, for different reasons, are the Chinese buses, Chinese-built houses and the Confucius Institute housed in a Chinese-style pavilion on a local university campus.


    “Forget about ‘little England’ — we’ll soon be ‘little China’, we’ll all be eating noodles,” joked Caleb Morgan, 35, a Barbadian salesman for a pharmaceutical company whom I met in Bridgetown, the capital. He added, in a more serious tone: “I worry we’ll fall into a debt trap, we’ll keep coming back for more and more loans like bees to the honey pot but when we can’t pay, the Chinese will end up in control.”
    In Shorey, a tiny northern village surrounded by cane fields and tropical forest, Lucille Hall, 81, runs the Nigel Benn Aunty Bar, named after her nephew, the British boxer. She was feeling anxious about a future without the Queen. “I expect we’ve made Her Majesty a little bit sad,” she said. “I am too, I don’t know what will happen to us without her, it’s frightening.”

    Beijing’s involvement dates back decades to the Chinese-built Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, an indoor sports facility that opened in 1992.
    But Chinese projects have multiplied since the government signed up to Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative in 2018. An office devoted to investing in Barbados recently opened in Beijing.
    Under a series of agreements between the two countries, China is about to begin refurbishing the derelict national stadium in Bridgetown, upgrade the south coast’s sewerage system and erect pre-fabricated houses made in China for people who lost homes to Hurricane Elsa in July.
    It has donated a coastal patrol vessel to help Barbados to defend its territorial waters and vaccines to defend against Covid-19.


    At a Chinese-built housing development in the Christ Church parish, Mandarin characters were painted on the walls. A woman came to her front door to tell me that she and her neighbours were a Chinese “team” of doctors at the local Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
    I wondered if a hospital on the island will one day be named after President Xi.
    My next stop was a hilltop mansion surrounded by lush, tropical gardens — the official residence of Mia Mottley, the prime minister, an affable figure in a pale trouser suit and red-rimmed glasses. A cloud descended over her sunny visage when I asked her if she was steering her country into the arms of Beijing.
    Questioning the island’s links with China was “a reflection of unconscious bias”, she told me as parrots screeched in a giant mahogany tree outside. “It suggests we can only exist as pawns of someone — and if it is not the British empire it must be the Chinese empire.

    She went on: “Barbados is capable of standing on its own two feet and determining who it can borrow from and work and deal with.”


    The workers I had seen were part of a project agreed by the previous government but she had made clear to China that in all future projects “the labour must predominantly come from Barbados”.
    Fresh from stealing the show at the Glasgow climate conference, where her speech about global warming’s threats to tiny states such as hers went viral — and where she was seen holding hands with Joe Biden as they came out of a meeting — Mottley, 56, contrasted China’s abundant infrastructure support with the “almost zero” offered by the country’s former colonial masters.
    The postcolonial experience was that of a landlord rid of bad tenants “who have extracted curtains, furniture, windows, lights and doors”. This meant “you then have to go and find what little money you have and start putting back in windows and doors”. And that is where China comes in.


    Mottley recalled an almost hour-long online meeting in July with Xi, who is appreciative of her country’s longstanding refusal to recognise Taiwan. He is “very engaging”, she said.
    One of the items on their to-do list was a Chinese-funded project to rebuild treacherous roads in Scotland, a hilly district in northeastern Barbados. This will help 30 electric buses delivered from Beijing to navigate their routes more safely.
    Elected in 2018 after her Labour Party won all 30 seats in parliament, Mottley insisted that her burgeoning relations with Xi had nothing to do with the move to a republic, which had been under debate for decades and had featured in every main party’s manifesto.
    But the world’s recent reassessment of colonialism and racism — and the Windrush scandal, in which West Indian immigrants, many from Barbados, were wrongly detained and deported from Britain — may have played into the timing. “To the extent that they represent the types of discriminatory behaviour of the past, we don’t want to be part of that,” she said.

    She repeated a call, backed by several other regional countries, for Britain to pay reparations for slavery: plantation owners received £20 million in compensation from the UK government after the abolition of slavery, a huge amount in the early 19th century, she noted.
    “But the slaves didn’t get anything,” she said, and this left a “developmental deficit that has still to be addressed. We believe it’s a matter of fundamental fairness.”
    From the 17th to the early 19th centuries, some 400,000 Africans were shipped to Barbados to work as slaves on sugar plantations. Reminders of this grim link to Britain abound: one is the Drax Hall Estate, a sugar plantation in the parish of Saint George, owned by Richard Drax, the Conservative MP.


    When I drove in last week, the place seemed deserted. Then Phillip Whitehead, the manager, emerged from a grey-walled mansion set amid tamarind and bread fruit trees. “My wife thinks it’s haunted,” he said. “We’ve heard strange things in the night.”
    Protesters have demanded Drax donate the property to Barbados in compensation for historical abuses. But Whitehead, 64, who has worked at the estate for four decades, seemed more concerned about China than the threat of being turfed out of his home. “We’ll probably end up having to learn Mandarin,” he said.
    Dumping the Queen seems less divisive in this conservative nation than Mottley’s other manifesto pledges: legalising cannabis and same-sex marriage. Some are appalled, however, at the lack of public debate about the transition.
    Grenville Phillips, an engineer and fringe party leader, has tried in vain to kill off the fledgling republic in court on the grounds that there should have been a referendum. The government, he complained, had “given radical activists control” of what he described as a “runaway train”.
    Pressure late last year from local Black Lives Matters protesters resulted in the removal of a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson that had stood in the main square in Bridgetown since 1813. “Nelson was a defender of slavery,” David Denny, who led the protestors, told me over a plate of fried flying fish, the national speciality.
    Denny, an annual guest at the Chinese embassy’s national day celebrations, has called for a protest against Prince Charles’s visit. “We don’t need his endorsement for declaring a republic,” he said. “If we’re going to invite someone, why not an African head of state?”
    A big “jump-up”, or party, is expected to mark the occasion. “There’ll be a good vibe, fireworks, parades,” enthused Kirk Humphrey, 48, the maritime affairs minister and a graduate of the London School of Economics. “For the first time, every Barbadian child will be able to aspire to the highest job in the land, president of the republic.”
    China will not be the only partner of the new republic, he insisted. “We will still have a good relationship with Britain. We are a friend of all and satellite of none.”


    Also- https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/...e-commonwealth
    Last edited by shri; 30-11-2021 at 02:34 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Very undemocratic to make such a big move without putting the question to a referendum.


  3. #3

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    Thanks for sharing, had no idea belt and road initiatives had made it to NA.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornmeal:
    Thanks for sharing, had no idea belt and road initiatives had made it to NA.
    Wherever there is poverty and the certain under developed nation characteristics that plague politicians...

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    Having been in charge for 400 years there was plenty of time for us Brits to have done our own belt and road then perhaps they wouldn't have gone to the Chinese?


  6. #6

    I read the dailymail etc and I find it ironic that all the comments from middle England white folk think it is preposterous that Barbados is having billions of chinese infrastructure poured into the island, and with a short memory that the black population are descendants of African slaves who were shipped over there by the Empire to work on plantations. A closer inspection of history will see that both Barbados and China have a common history of being humiliated by the West.Think opium war and slavery, and the West asks why Barbados moves to be closer to China.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dinosaurs88:
    I read the dailymail etc and I find it ironic that all the comments from middle England white folk think it is preposterous that Barbados is having billions of chinese infrastructure poured into the island, and with a short memory that the black population are descendants of African slaves who were shipped over there by the Empire to work on plantations. A closer inspection of history will see that both Barbados and China have a common history of being humiliated by the West.Think opium war and slavery, and the West asks why Barbados moves to be closer to China.
    I would never suggest that what the British did in the 17th/18th century was acceptable but the current British population/government are not responsible for that. Incidentally Britain was also key in banning slavery. Just because Britain is historically guilty of exploiting poorer/less developed nations/people doesn't mean they shouldn't speak out against other countries/doing that may be doing less than desirable things.

    I think the point is that there are plenty of examples of China investing in poorer countries and then when they default on their loans China takes over. Sri Lanka's port is one example. These countries need to be careful for what they leave themselves open to when getting involved in deals like this.

    Just because a country did something unacceptable in the past doesn't make it ok for another country to do the same now.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/12/13/78408...ut-sovereignty
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauljoecoe:
    I would never suggest that what the British did in the 17th/18th century was acceptable but the current British population/government are not responsible for that. Incidentally Britain was also key in banning slavery. Just because Britain is historically guilty of exploiting poorer/less developed nations/people doesn't mean they shouldn't speak out against other countries/doing that may be doing less than desirable things.

    I think the point is that there are plenty of examples of China investing in poorer countries and then when they default on their loans China takes over. Sri Lanka's port is one example. These countries need to be careful for what they leave themselves open to when getting involved in deals like this.

    Just because a country did something unacceptable in the past doesn't make it ok for another country to do the same now.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/12/13/78408...ut-sovereignty
    Well Barbados is a sovereign country now. They have the right to do as they please in their own affairs. If Britain doesn't like it...not much they could do about it. I am not saying Barbados is necessarily smart in taking Beijing's cash. But UK is not in a position to complain about another country's business.

    The problem I have is that your post imply Barbados isn't competent enough to decide for themselves what is in their own interest. That smacks of a colonial mentality, don't you think?

  9. #9

    They will remain in the commonwealth -

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43715079


  10. #10

    For "commonwealth", watch from 2.15 to 3.55.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hcoTgVuOoM


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