Glimpses of Stuart’s world view
The author, James Sire, posits that one’s worldview is told by one’s words and actions, is deeply embedded in one’s subconscious and, unless one reflects long and hard, one may be unaware of what it is.
Indeed, Sire goes on to argue that our worldview is a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how one will interpret and respond to situations.
Recently when Prime Minister Freundel Stuart spoke at length on the Golden Jubilee of Barbados’ Independence celebrations to three different audiences in the Canadian city of Toronto, did he give them glimpses of his own worldview?
Dan Silveira, who reported on a town hall meeting hosted by Stuart for the University of Toronto’s Varsity publication, noted in the article that the Bajan prime minister reflected on his leadership over the last six years at the helm of the executive branch of the island’s government.
Stuart said: “I had views of what it would have been to be a great leader of a country, before I became a leader of a country, and for me the last six years have been a unique period of my own life not just because I’ve been the Prime Minister of Barbados, but because the country was going through a most testing period since Independence…
“The economic downturn currently felt in Barbados has been the longest in Barbados post-Independence history and through the crisis I had to keep Barbados steady… I was aware and have been aware that, if I showed any signs of panic, any signs of anxiety, that it would filter right from the top down to society. I had to keep a cool head and also radiate as Prime Minister of Barbados confidence in the promise and the future of Barbados.”
He went on: “It is very important to understand that we cannot afford to mistake a moment in time for eternity; this will pass. We may not get back to the Barbados that preceded this crisis because the world has changed but the Barbados that comes out will be the Barbados that responds to the ideals which we have set ourselves in creation of a Barbados that is socially balanced, economically viable, and environmentally sound and characterized by those goals. So in terms of what it takes to be a great leader, leadership is contextual.”
Meanwhile, at a dinner, Stuart shared his views on the modernization of Barbados and crime among other topics. He in part explained:
“We have become a more impersonal society than the time when we lived in close communities in an agricultural economy. Now as a result of that, people living in developed communities – and I use this as an example – do not know the names of their neighbours – or their neighbour’s children, and, know their neighbour only by the registration number of their car…
“I think we have reached the stage where we need to get back to some form of community mindedness that infects our society, and makes us feel that we are our brother’s keeper. The onset of modernization has removed some of our cherished values for which Barbadian have become well known. We’ve become a consumer society and while there is nothing wrong with consuming the best that life has to offer, we cannot allow the means by which we live, to so engulf us that we forget the ends to which we live. And therefore there are some areas we have to do some introspection, and be self–critical, if we are to be self-correcting.”
With regard to crime and drugs, Stuart said in part:
“When we discuss the drug trade, we are discussing the movement of drugs. The people actually involved in the drug trade sees the activity as work. They see it as putting food on their table. This is how they make their money…and why they are so ruthless in pursuit of their goals. We who live in mainstream call it crime. We who have jobs call it crime; we who are comfortably housed and send children to school, call it crime; but those who are involved in drugs, for them it is employment; and they will gun down anybody who stands in the way of them earning their living.
He added: “But if we fashion a way to attract some of these people, many of them may come over. It is a problem that has the capacity to destroy any society. However, so far we have been able to keep it under control and keep them at bay. I must pay tribute to the Royal Barbados Police Force, for unlike some other places in the Caribbean, the Royal Barbados Police Force has been able to do their job… When is all and said and done, justice is going to be administered and dispensed according to the law.”