The discussions on the dominance of Syrians in the business community have continued with former Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer pointing the accusatory finger at the ruling Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) government.
The Leader of the Opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) said his party is all for the empowerment of black people, and is not to blamed for the influx of Syrians in the country.
“To suggests that it was all Syrians during the UPP’s tenure, to the complete exclusion of our black brothers and sisters, that is not so. The record will show that during our tenure we had more black Antiguans being given what we call mini contracts for road construction, drainage and so on,” Spencer said.
His comments comes in wake of remarks by Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Senator Lennox Weston, last week, that the tendering process will be changed to stop “the domination of Syrians, and that he would not sit down while 95 per cent of government finances [are] being paid to Syrians who turn contractor and can’t even cut cloth.”
Spencer said he does not object to changes to the system, but his party should not be blamed.
He also suggested that the ABLP administration should “look within” if they want to really examine the situation.
“You cannot be accusing the United Progressive Party of doing things when you have had a history doing much more, in that regard,” the former prime minister declared.
Members of the Syrian community have raised strong objection to Weston’s statement.
Meanwhile, Political Analyst Dr David Hinds has said that attempts to end the dominance of Syrians in the business community will put a “sizable dent in the structural inequality” that exist in society.