Khalid Wasi

Encourage a return to entrepreneurship

  • Khalid Wasi

There is a lot of truth in the phrase “you reap what you sow”. We may not want to look at it, but in some ways, it’s like trying to run from one’s own shadow, which inevitably must follow.

I have learnt to embrace our human imperfections and also that accepting responsibility is the best first step towards remedy of past mistakes — to learn from them and move on.

This is not just for personal remedy; it is societal and even an approach for entire nations.

There is no need to re-litigate all of human history for evidence, to see the cycle of repercussions that emanates from exploitation and injustice, when a quick glance at recent history can suffice. We now live in a period of open acknowledgement of historical wrongs and, more importantly, efforts are being openly discussed on how to redress them.

The 2020 US presidential election underscores former issues such as that of “redlighting” or restricting credit in districts heavily populated with the black population.

Bermuda was no different; the only real difference is the reluctance to openly discuss the truth of how it was orchestrated.

Even the systemic retardation of education dating all the way back to the 1840s, when we turned down the opportunity to develop a college and inclusive of our modern era, has set not just some people behind, but the whole country and its ability to compete in a world increasingly set apart by its levels of sophistication and education.

What I’ve witnessed for almost 70 years is not a natural evolution or devolution, particularly when I recall where the society stood in the 1950s and where it stands today.

The economic disparity among groups has increased exponentially.

It is readily apparent what subgroups were given the “green light” and which groups received the “red light”.

It would be good if there was the scholarship that could demonstrate, with graphic illustrations, the economic movement within our society over the past 60 years.

Entrepreneurship within the black community suffered the greatest calamity with a systemic squeeze, beginning in the late 1950s combined with an ideological self-infliction during the mid to late 1960s and a brutal stab by the establishment order in the early 1990s which, after a prolonged drain for 40 years, took the sharpest of the fledgeling, black middle-class entrepreneurs out of the marketplace with one swoop — like an operation “clean sweep”.

The creativity we now seek as a country was assassinated, resulting in a brain drain.

The country now would like to make entrepreneurs, but you cannot create passion and drive, which are just two core essentials.

Money and capital help, but what happens when there is no money to give?

One can create an artificial illusion when opportunities are handed out, but the question becomes, what do they do when there is no more handouts?

This is where we can gain a fuller appreciation of what a free market entails versus government sponsorship.

Of course, governments should assist entrepreneurship and they should do all they can to encourage it.

We should applaud any attempt; the Government would be delinquent if they didn’t.

However, nothing can supersede personal initiative and creativity.

We live in a time when there is a void for the adventurist, and the vast majority of people want the security of establishment and a paycheque, rather than be exposed to the hostile forces of the free market.

This is sadly our payback from which we as a society must emerge.