COLUMN – The dedicated leader Danny
Name: Danny Babb
Education: The Alexandra School; The Lodge School; University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts in literatures in English.
Occupation: Senior retail sales representative/youth leader and activist.
If you had to introduce yourself to the world, what would you say?
In life there is that one person who regardless of your present position always makes you feel good about yourself. The one who would give you their last without hesitation.
The one who is always passionate about things they believe in, regardless of what others think. The one who wears a permanent smile that illuminates the darkest of places. The one who sees the best in people when they can’t.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about a number of things. However, three top my list. These are church, scouting and politics.
Do you have a philosophy that you live by?
My philosophy comes from the very motto of the beacon of the North –– The Alexandra School –– which says Per Ardua Ad Astra, which is translated as Through Difficulty To The Stars!
What influenced your decision to pursue CAPE at The Lodge School rather than enrol in an Associate degree programme at the Barbados Community College?
My decision was influenced mainly by the fact that at the time I was still unsure of what would be my career choice. While I love English (both literature and language), I still had a desire to study business subjects as well, and that option was not available at the BCC.
Additionally, I wanted an atmosphere that was similar to that of The Alexandra School and in doing some research, I realized that The Lodge School was the best choice.
You seem to have a love for serving and working with people, evident in the length of time spent in the customer service industry? When did you recognize you had this gift and what has kept you motivated to continue in this line of work, especially given the challenges it presents?
It was during my time at The Alexandra School when Ms Springer invited me to join the Key Club, which is all about service to others, that I recognized I have a gift for serving and working with people. Truthfully, it brings me much joy to see other people happy and to know that I was the one who assisted in making them happy. And this continues to be my main motivator, even during the challenges faced.
Social media is bombarded daily with complaints about poor customer service. What advice would you give to your colleagues in the industry to help curtail the negative reports?
My main advice to my colleagues in the industry to help curtail the negative reports is simply this: “Treat your customer the way you would treat yourself.”
Having done some research, it was communicated to me by some who work in customer service that there isn’t enough, and in some cases any, training to support their work. Having been in the industry for some time, how important is continuous training and what are some of the areas of training most needed?
I can agree to a certain extent that there is not enough training; but it all comes down to the employee. All of the companies I worked for provided training and also conducted constant evaluation to ensure that the correct procedures were being undertaken. Continuous training is ideal, but the individual needs to apply that training, which is often one of the main reasons there are so many complaints about poor customer services.
Additionally, the biggest area of training most needed is good manners; but there is very little the employer can do in that case. Good manners ought to have been instilled in the individual in the first place.
If you were to be a superhero, which one would you be and why?
I would be Superman. Some days I feel like I am Superman, having to use my superhuman abilities to help someone in distress.
If you were to be marooned on an island, what four things would you wish having with you?
Rope, tarpaulin, matches, machete.
Make a choice:
(a) Calypso/soca vs reggae/dancehall. Calypso.
(b) Red wine vs white wine. Red wine.
(c) Apple vs Android vs Blackberry. Blackberry.
(d) e-book vs print. Print.
(e) Car vs SUV. SUV.
Scouting has been a huge part of your life. What has kept you involved this long? How have you served the scouting organization and why should parents encourage their children
Scouting is a unique organization that seeks to mould productive citizens for our society. I have been in this organization since October, 1995, and the one thing that keeps me going is the ability to help someone achieve what I have through Scouting.
Moreover, while the emphasis is placed on Beavers, Cubs and to some extent Scouts, it was being a Venture that gave me the most joys in Scouting.
The Venture Scout ranges from ages 15 to 21, a period where you are most distracted as a young man; and the programme is one which has the ability to provide you with the necessary skills as you enter adulthood. Being a Venture Scout gives the young man that ability to be his own leader in essence, taking what he has learnt as a Scout and putting into practice to create a programme which suits his time and his level of development.
It is during this period that discipline, hard work and dedication become the pillars needed to get past the distractions you may encounter. While I was in all but one leadership capacity during my period from Cub to Scout, nothing was more rewarding than being able to lead myself and have the discipline to do so.
Hence, why I have made such an impact as a youth leader.
It is on this note that I urge every single parent who has a boy child to enrol him into a Cub Pack or Scout Group. Along with him send his father, or an uncle, or grandfather to become a leader to help mould our young boys into young men who are physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
You are part of a privilege group who has received the Queen’s Scout Award. I know it is the highest award a Scout could receive, but can share with us the criteria for receiving the award, and what it represents locally and internationally.
Achieving the Queen’s Scout Award is a process that starts from your first day as a Scout. The criteria for the award challenge members in the following areas: responsibility, self-Reliance, activity and exploration.
The Queen’s Scout Award is to Scouting what knighthood is to the British. It is recognized worldwide as the pinnacle of scouting development. The award separates the wheat from the tares. Locally a Queen’s Scout Awardee is held in high esteem and automatically becomes the role model for younger scouters.
Internationally, you are a part of an elite group of Scouters and you are respected wherever you are.
You attended the 16th Summer Institute For Future Global Leaders in the Virgin Islands. What was this conference about and what was the experience like?
The Summer Institute For Future Global Leaders is a two-week course designed to equip students with a broad knowledge and functional skills necessary to assume future leadership roles in a Caribbean environment that is being shaped by global forces of technology, commerce, and communication. This conference gave me the opportunity to meet with some of the most influential people in the US Virgin Islands, but it also gave me the privilege to sit with some of the future leaders who attended universities in the United States and the Caribbean.
While there I was exposed to different cultures and customs, including participating in the native dance of Nepal and learning Japanese. The experience was phenomenal.
You are the first person I have met who has been a member of Circle K, the Optimist Club and the Key Club. Are all three organizations’ mandates the same, and in what capacity have you been involved with each?
For the record, I was not a member of the Optimist Club; rather I represented it at an oratorical competition. However, Key Club and Circle K are both members of the Kiwanis family. Key Club is the high school (secondary school) version, while Circle K is the university version.
In Key Club, I was privileged to be the first male governor of the Caribbean Atlantic District, which encompasses all Caribbean territories except Jamaica, and includes Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. This saw me travelling to the different territories, as well as to various meetings in Indianapolis, where the Kiwanis International headquarters is located.
Additionally, I was able to attend Kiwanis International Convention, which saw more than 2,000 young people come together for a common purpose.
My time with Circle K was not as exciting, as the demands of university caused me to be only vice-president.
Your love for and interest in politics, debating and national and global issues, where did it begin?
I have always loved politics and I was one of those weird children who instead of watching Sesame Street would prefer to watch a debate in the House of Assembly. Truthfully, all my friends know I love to argue. Whether I am right or wrong, I will present my case so well that at the end I am right anyway. As it relates to debating, I have to make mention of Mrs Margo Clarke who spearheaded inter-house debates at The Alexandra School.
The debates heightened my interest in national and global issues, providing me with the opportunity to research topics and learn information that sometimes made it difficult to debate, as it went against some of my beliefs.
Further to this, I always admired the Right Honourable Owen S. Arthur, Dame Billie Miller and, of course, my political leader Honourable Mia Mottley for their styles of debating and the delivery of their points. Moreover, I was inspired by my grandfather who though a man of few words, would take time to analyze what was being said by the politicians and somehow always had the best counterargument, sounding more intelligent than those who sat in the House of Parliament.
You attended the Fourth Commonwealth Youth Parliament in Britain in 2011. Tell us about your experience being the Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry.
My experience as Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry was a small part of my attendance of the Fourth Commonwealth Youth Parliament in Britain. However, I was exposed to the British parliamentary style of debating and the fact that once done correctly opposition politics can succeed.
In fact, during a debate tabled by the Minister of Trade, the opposition party was able to defeat the motion and cause some distress for the government.
You have served as the president of the League of Young Socialists. What exactly is this organization, and how has it contributed or is contributing to national development?
The League of Young Socialists is the youth arm of the Barbados Labour Party. The organization was created to be a voice for the youth on political issues, as well as to create the opportunity for youth to become more politically aware.
Additionally, it is also involved in community work to assist with social transformation. The League of Young Socialists has for a number of years donated to the HIV/AIDS Food Bank. Furthermore, kudos must be given to its current president Mr Asokore Beckles, who with his team donated food items to underprivileged individuals and households within Barbados.
The League of Young Socialists continues to contribute to national development through its community work, showing to Barbadians that the Barbados Labour Party is more than politics; it is also about providing a better life for our people. It has also been giving a voice to the voiceless, representing the very youth that the Government has seemingly forgotten.
For two years you served as the Prime Minister of Team Action Parliamentary Assembly (TAPA) and the following two as Opposition Leader. What exactly is TAPA and how has this experience contributed to your development as a youth leader.
Team Action Parliamentary Assembly (TAPA) was a youth parliament, which was born out of the death of the Barbados Youth Parliament. It was founded by Paul Forte, who was supported by Quincy Yarde to give young people from different backgrounds the ability to speak on issues that affected them. It was also used as a tool to train young people in debating and public speaking, and this has helped me in my delivery of speeches.
There seems to be a growing disinterest in politics amongst young people. Having served as a personal/executive assistant to Peter Phillips, BLP candidate for St Lucy, and being involved in local politics and Youth Parliament, why do you think this is so and why should young people get involved in politics and national issues?
The disinterest in politics comes as a result of the deceit, lies and propaganda imposed on the youth of this country. Too many persons who call themselves politicians have made promises to young people and have defaulted on them, leaving them to become more and more disinterested.
Moreover, I believe young people need to get involved in politics and national issues to ensure that those who make empty promises and mismanage the country’s affair are held accountable. We as young people need to add our voices to the debates, let our voices be heard. We need to let respective Governments know we are worth more than a fete on Brandons Beach or in Oistins. We too have a contribution to make to the development of this country.
You have served as both camp counsellor and assistant camp director with the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports. What was most rewarding about these experiences and why is volunteerism so important to national development?
What was most rewarding about these experiences was the opportunity to help other young people strive for excellence. This is usually the only reward that is actually worth all the hard work.
As it relates to volunteerism, it is a debate that continues year after year. We now live in a “give to get” society, where persons are no longer interested in giving of their time, effort and skills without payment. This breeds a society of selfishness, and actually divides in ways that can sometimes be severe.
On the other hand, volunteerism is important to national development, as it can help improve the society. Furthermore, there is no greater feeling in the world knowing you have helped someone –– not knowing when your turn may come to be helped by someone else.
Having been nationally recognized and honoured by receiving the Special Award For Community Service in the 2008 National Youth Awards, what are your thoughts on the fact that since 2009 there have been no awards to celebrate the achievements and contributions of our young people? And do you see a need for such as the National Youth Awards to be restarted?
This is exactly why young people need to be more involved in politics and national issues. This is a national issue affecting young people and should be dealt with immediately. It seems as though young people have been placed on the back burner in this country since 2009. Too much lip service has been given to young people in this country; and it needs to stop.
We need to restart the National Youth Awards with haste, to recognize the contributions and achievements of young people like Dwayne Worrell, Christa Soleyn, Meshach Thornhill, Asokore Beckles to name a few, who have made a difference in their communities and schools. There are also members of the Barbados Boy Scout Association and the Girl Guides who should be recognized as a way of encouragement for other young people.
Who has contributed to your success?
God has been good to me! He has placed me in the right places at the right times with the right people, all of whom have made a contribution to my success. Therefore, let me thank everyone publicly who has been a part
of my life to ensure that I succeeded.
What is your vision and hope for Barbados?
My vision and hope for Barbados is a little unorthodox; not your traditional answer. My vision and hope for Barbados is for this country to experience my leadership in whatever capacity I am called.