(Jamaica Gleaner) Barack Obama’s historic presidency was a “disappointment” for black people, a retired Jamaican businessman now living in the United States (US) has asserted.
Leonard ‘Gerry’ Grindley, former chairman and managing director of the Grimax Group of Companies, believes that African-Americans saw “minimal” gains in the eight years Obama served as the first black president of the US.
“The man who should have lifted up black people in the United States was Barack Obama, and he failed them,” declared Grindley.
“I often felt like he was a disappointment for black people.”
The former advertising executive now resides in the state of Florida and acknowledged that he is a registered member of the Republican Party.
Last year, he was nominated for the Republican Life Member Order of Merit, the highest honour awarded by the party.
“Few Americans can match your proven devotion to our country, your unfailing commitment to our conservative principles, and your dedication to the continued success of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party,” read a section of the letter informing Grindley of his nomination.
According to the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University in New York, Obama – campaigning under the theme ‘Yes, We Can’ – swept 95 per cent of the African-American vote to defeat Republican challenger John McCain in the 2008 US presidential elections.
The Roper Center indicated that Obama secured 93 per cent of the black vote in 2012 when he was re-elected to a second four-year term.
Grindley, who was speaking in an interview with The Gleaner, said it was Obama’s oratory skills and “tremendous cry” for freedom and change that galvanised black voters to flock to both presidential campaigns.
NOTHING TO SHOUT ABOUT
But the 86-year-old former Jamaican business leader asserted that in the eight years that Obama occupied the White House, millions of African-Americans remained on the food stamp roll, with “minimal” economic opportunities in their communities.
“Ten million [black] people were on that [food stamp], and he presided over that for eight years. No jobs for black people, or you may want to put it another way: the opportunities were minimal,” Grindley insisted.
“It was as if he was saying, ‘Black people, I use you the way I want to’. There was nothing to show that black people were getting great developments in the country or that they were in a better position.”
Grindley argued that the few gains made by African-Americans during the Obama presidency were “nothing to shout about”.
“Because everywhere the blacks are, a lot of wastelands are there. Factories close, and opportunities die,” he stated.