HBG (A division of the BAM Group) Destroys Minority Project in The Netherlands With its Legal Force Due to Rental Disagreement

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Unfortunately, with deep pain in our hearts, we have to inform you that due to powers beyond our control we have been forced to pack up our activities in this building with effect from the 8th of April 2004. This means that Colours@Work will be closing its doors to the public permanently at this location effectively at the end of the month. This is a decision that was pronounced by the courts in Amsterdam, on the 8th of April as a result of the campaign against us by the owners of the building (HBG). The opposition represented by the management of the building Ganzeveer Belegingsmaatschappij, collectively represented by Mr. MJCM Barten, Ms. LSB van Baar van Slangenburgh, Mr. D. Dorrestijn and Mr. Theo. Weering and their legal council Ms. I.E. Wong from the law firm Houthoff Burma Solicitors and collectively known as the key players responsible for our exit.

This desperate action of the opposition, has only suggested one thing to us: that the owners of the building are only interested in the commercial returns in this community and to say the least the social development of the community. Despite numerous pleas and efforts for a dialogue the only solution was our exit.

We: A hand full of minorities in the neighborhood decided for once, without waiting for some social project from the government to improve our society, decided to use their hard earned money (without a cent of government subsidy) and acquired knowledge, to set up an infrastructure that will enhance knowledge transfer and empowerment of its people. This dream was the least to reckon with by the management of HBG. Our progress and success became a threat whereby the only way to suppress us was to kick us out of the building on legal technicalities in the rental contract we signed with them.

We are sure now that after HBG has succeeded in getting us out of the building they would be happy that, about 7 of Colours@Work staff can now go and claim unemployment benefits, or see their lives and dreams shatter right before their eyes. They would also be happy that the numerous customers of ours that would be denied of the facility which was a source of inspiration for them to acquire knowledge and communicate with families, loved ones and friends go down the drain.

Integration and self-empowerment has been the key for any successful minority community development policy. This can never be achieved if powerful institutions and organizations like HBG still use their wealth of resources to kill the community instead of bringing life into it. Our deeds say more than our talks!! It is not surprising that we could not find any sign of HBG’s commitment to the society as a responsive and corporate citizen on its website (http://www.hbg.nl) who has made hundreds of millions of Euro’s both in assets and turnover from the Dutch society. Despite this, it is much easier for these organizations to buy-off criminal conducts in out of court settlements, to the tune of millions of Euro’s than to take a loss or invest a few thousand Euro’s in the society. Our experience and story might be a familiar tune to many of you and most especially other tenants of HBG in the shops and other facilities, but it is worth our while to get our people informed and you should also let your voice be heard.

Colours@Work can be displaced physically, but we cannot be displaced spiritually and mentally. We do not have the resources to stand up against the high and mighty, but we do have the spiritual power and freedom to excel someday. The struggle continues, the oppressor and suppressor shall see no spiritual peace till we have been giving the chance to progress as a people without interference.

Please go to our web site: http://www.colours-at-work.com for a full detailed story of how the events evolved and how the suppressors took necessary action and steps to ensure and enforce their will. You can also use our FORUM to express your views on the role of large corporations in minority communities: “A Fantasy or Mirage”. We would also be updating you on the way forward and plans for the new Colours@Work. Colours@Work is NOT dead and we would not die!!

We would like to thank you all for your support and patronage throughout that past months and we are looking forward to more support and ideas in the future to stand up against those who do not want us to succeed and progress. “UNITED WE STAND” .

Your feedback and comments could be directed to management@colours-at-work.com

Complaints and protests could be directed to: info@bam.nl

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Wole Awolaja