Accepting the good leader

yourwealthourinterest-1Kofi Annan recently stated there wasn’t a crisis of knowledge in the world, but a crisis of leadership. I tend to agree with this statement.

There are readily available solutions for Barbados’ debt problem, the Caribbean’s lack of growth, and the social issues we are quick to point out in America but slow to recognize locally. The job of the leader is to get the job done either by persuasion or by coercion –– a thankless task indeed!

Who would want to be the politician who tells the populace the cure for the national debt may well be wage reductions; or that pay should be linked to performance metrics; or perhaps the solution for pension funds to be solvent in the long run is bold investments or a cut in pensions? It would simply be easier to say everything is fine and continue merrily.

This phenomenon isn’t only happening in Barbados, but is a global issue with few brave souls willing to campaign on known solutions.

Kofi Annan suggests there are three solutions for ordinary citizens to help bring about the change we need and encourage our leaders to lead.

First, he indicates that we should all vote, especially younger persons who would take a longer view of what needs to be done.

Second, Mr Annan advocates citizens use activism to highlight causes and concerns. The most recent example of Barbadians doing this was the “no to Cahill movement”.

Third, use your power as a consumer to promote corporate practices and behaviour you support versus those you don’t.

I disagree with Mr Annan’s solutions not because these are bad ideas in and of themselves. I disagree because nothing here narrows our focus on what a good leader should be.

In our local and regional context, Mr Annan’s recommendations also take the focus away from encouraging citizens to know when to swallow the hard pills –– for example, wage cuts. Could you imagine a Caribbean politician being elected while campaigning for spending cuts?

It is simply easier to tell the electorate the lies they want to hear and then try to manage those lies once elected. I should probably say at this point I’m not referring exclusively to one party or one period in time.

If only the voting populace knew the qualities of a good leader! That would solve this issue. Imagine a group of individuals ready and willing to tell the public their honest views, whether politically correct or not, or whether popular or not, and being able to change the national discourse. Unfortunately, this isn’t what most voters would accept. This isn’t the standard to which most voters hold their prospective leaders.

Most voters don’t read manifestos and have only a limited knowledge of what was promised versus what was delivered. Instead, voters focus on abstract things like how the candidate makes them feel, or blind party allegiance.

Even more unfortunate is that politicians know this and that is why less and less attention is being paid to actual facts and figures. Even if we wanted to become better informed,
our excuse would be: “I’m too busy for that.”

Admittedly, I have fallen into this trap of being too busy to follow national data, looking at it less and less each year. We all think someone else would look into these phenomena and educate the public.

But guess what? On an island of 166 square miles you are that someone else, and, for my regional readers, whatever the size of your island the same applies.

Be the change you want to see.

(Craig Harewood is the investment director at Ourinterest Inc., an investment company that tradeson global markets and from time to time assists small businesses
and boutique investors.)

3 Responses to Accepting the good leader

  1. jrsmith May 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

    This is the problem the voters cause upon themselves, not reading the manifesto and carrying any knowledge of what the political economical process is all about.. Our major failings from the politicians themselves, because they work in the interest of some people the non politicals and nothing towards the real interest of the people..

    We see how everything is doomed to failure by the non productive public sector, this by employing people with little or no back ground to they job posting and is only employed because of party political connections..but not only at the present time but for decades the same apply..

    The failing the economic pressure, is history as all our yester years which has gradually built up and now is back to bite us on the backsides. Yes we are educated there is a lot of proof , but where do this education fits, and what can we offer the educated ones. Its as like building a house but employing all painters…

    And as (Sir Hillary) said we must change to meet the 21st century…. we are preparing for the 50th year of (INDEPENDENCE)(DEPENDANCY) ?????? are we ready for the 51st..

  2. Mark Fenty
    Mark Fenty May 24, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I totally agree with Mr. Annan regarding fact that the world is in want of the sort of leader who has the can do attitude and the know it how spirit to deliver the goods to the people. But we have a group of individuals today, who believe that they academic credentials entitled them and them alone the privilege to occupy the highest office in the land, when deep within we know that they motives are suspect and intentions aren’t clear. Now if the requirements for political office were academics rather than the right person or persons who knows how to deliver the peoples mandates, President Harry Truman wouldn’t have taken on that challenged because he had but a secondary school education, and the moral -compass coupled with the ability to served the people honestly.


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