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Entrepreneur Stephen Broadbridge

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Even after three apologies were issued by businessman and Starlite Shopping Plaza owner, Gerald Aboud following what many saw as offensive statements made last Tuesday with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement, many have replied on social media to say that an apology at this time just would not suffice.

Some have called for a boycott of businesses owned by Aboud.

However, in defence of Aboud, former board director of the Creative Industries Company (Now CreativeTT), Stephen Broadbridge is asking, “what about forgiveness?”

Broadbridge, who also came under fire after calling the boycott one of the stupidest boycott causes he has ever seen, insisted that to follow through with those calls would be to ignore all the good Aboud has done over the years.

He told Guardian Media in a Facebook interview, “Without forgiveness, we will go nowhere…hate makes more hate.”

Admitting he was never in agreement with Aboud’s comments, he said he became concerned when, after Aboud’s three public apologies, members of the public continued to attack Aboud and repeated calls to boycott his business.

“After an apology, it is time to move on. None of us are perfect but we are all human beings capable of good and bad. I disapprove of a boycott after the three apologies and for this, the “thought police” are now labelling me a racist. This is not how we improve race relations in T&T,” Broadbridge said.

He said if anyone truly wanted to change, it would be achieved with peaceful dialogue and not rejecting apologies.

“Mr Aboud has fed thousands of poor families of every race during the pandemic. He has shown himself to be a kind person deserving of forgiveness,” reasoned Broadbridge.

He added, “If my opinion causes bullies to attack me as well, so be it. I do what I think is right despite the hateful attacks. We have so many bigger problems, to waste time attacking the words of one man who holds no position in government and minimal effects on most of our lives. It’s time to accept the apologies, forgive, and move on.”

The murder of George Floyd in the United States sparked protests across the world.