The board of the political party Bij1 suspended activist and artist Quinsy Gario as a member because he behaved manipulatively, separated, and masculine dominant. Thats what the partys President Jursica Mills said at the General Members Assembly.
She called Garios attitude “toxic behavior,” and apologized to the victims for the fact that the party continued that situation for so long. Party leader Sylvana Simons joined that later in her speech.
According to Mills, sixteen people within Bij1 complained about the behavior of Gario, who was number two on the list in the elections, behind party leader Simons.
The signals about Gario came in from the moment he became active for the party in 2020. “Some compared him to the Trojan Horse back then,” Simons said. Wrongly there was no intervention at that time, she believes afterwards. “This could have been avoided. Im sorry.”
Communicating with Gario would have been so difficult that many volunteers didnt feel safe and contact him. Several attempts have been tried to mediate to improve the situation, but that should not be avail, President Mills said.
Members very shocked
The conflict over Quinsy Gario has risen high in Bij1 in recent days. From different sides, there is a lot of criticism of the decision to suspend him as a member. Some 200 members sent a letter to the board in which they wrote to be very shocked by the suspension.
By giving little openness about the considerations, the board would have provided the cliché of the dangerous black man, some think. There was also criticism of choosing the law firm that investigated the signals: that would be too white according to a number of members.
Chairman Mills responded emotionally to that criticism from her party mates. “I am ashamed that people who are members of the same party as I havent asked about the victims, the signal deliverers. Guys, right, what are we doing? This really isnt okay. This is not the party I chose.”
The board focused on expertise when looking for an external agency that could investigate the case, Mills said. “Unfortunately, we havent found an office with more people of color.”
According to party leader Simons, Gario was untouchable. “But no one is bigger than the party. You cant ask me to fight the abuses in society and look away in my own party,” she said. “I cant guarantee safety as long as it stays.”
Simons responded strongly to party mates who have suggested in recent days that Bij1 had fallen victim to colonial power relations. “This isnt about white and black. This is about Quinsy Garios behavior.”
Can still be appealed
According to Chairman Mills, Gario gave his vision to the office in writing. The report stated the recommendation to withdraw Gario membership. He can still appeal.
Gario says he was never personally informed of the decision, but according to the board, it did. He says he would have tried to tackle bullying and abuse of power within Bij1.