Active citizenship

I recently wrote a piece that proposed a vision for Barbados by 2030. The essence of the article was that we need to treat Barbados like a project and have a singular goal that everyone strives for and that all arms of government, business and civil society align to deliver through our educational system, transportation network, health care organism and through Government facilitation. Barbados as a healthy destination for the rest of the world.

When I thought of the vision and wrote it, it wasn’t intended to be an intellectual piece, but in fact, it is exactly what I genuinely believe needs to happen to transform our economy and change our fortunes as a country, so we can provide a vibrant future for the generations to come.

In the article, I indicated that it requires leadership and strong leadership to make it happen, which therefore means political will. Alas, I don’t know that political will alone is a realistic option or hope for this change to occur.

I think it is going to require Active Citizenship. We need a tipping point. We need enough people in our community echoing this message until it becomes the only option available that causes the political will to emerge.

What exactly is the active citizenship to which we refer?

Active citizenship means people getting involved in their local communities and democracy at all levels, from Sandy Lane to Bathsheba to Lightfoot Lane, gated communities to villages to nationwide activity. Active citizenship can be as small as a campaign to clean up your street or as big as educating young people about democratic values, skills and participation.

Our cause is very specific, it is about galvanizing people around this singular idea of Project Barbados. This will require enough citizens to take up a role and take responsibility to get this message and ideation moving; building to a momentum where action is inevitable and that is called a Tipping Point. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Tipping Point refers to the three key elements in creating a Tipping Point. They are roles required in the process.

I will share these roles so that you can see where you fit in to make this work using the skill set that you have. Fortunately, because of the level of education that exists in our country, I know that every citizen can find themselves in one of these roles and all we need is critical mass to get it moving.

Your role – Are you a maven, connector or salesperson?

Mavens make change happen through information and ideas. These are the people you ask whenever you want to know something about anything – they’re always the people in the know. They’re builders, engineers, process folks, and system folks. It’s all about the ideas and the information.

 These are the folks in the process that will validate the facts, the merits and demerits of how the new economy can work – economists, engineers, builders, manufacturers – these are the ones that will do the calculus and come to the conclusion that it can work. Mavens, we need you now.

Connectors make change happen through people. They galvanize people. They’re natural hubs. That’s just the way they’re oriented to the world. These are people who, every time you ask a question, start flipping through a contact list or rolodex in the back of their mind, saying, “Who do I know who knows this? Who do I know who has done this? Who do I know that I need to connect you with?”  They love connecting you with people, because they’re all about the people.

So you know, you know somebody, that knows somebody who can get something done. Well, this process needs you to connect – people who have seen this idea and tell that someone who can add to this process, to the idea, to make it work.

Connectors get to work!  Go to the diaspora, go to the guy in the barber shop that has some fantastic ideas – connect!

And finally, Salespeople make change happen through persuasion. They can take an idea, make it sticky and accessible, and position it to get a tribe behind it. Salespeople are your storytellers and masters of persuasion. These are the people who can borrow your watch and then sell it back to you. They just have this uncanny ability to get you to buy into whatever they’re selling, whether it’s an idea, a plan, or a product – it doesn’t matter.

Of course, there will be sceptics. We are talking about fundamental change here, so we need the salespeople to articulate the message. Break it down – “Explain it to me like I am a two-year-old”. Or sell it to me because I can only understand it in business terms or spiritual dimensions.

Salespeople, pick up your skillset. Let’s go.

Folks, if we want to see our country change, now is the time. Now is the time to put our shoulders to the wheel, our talents, our education and our time. We do not need to be politicians to influence or create change. In fact, what is required now is for us to make it inevitable for our politics to change. Let’s make this thing sticky and let’s make it grow. Come on mavens, connectors and salespeople – let’s do this.

Barbados – the healthiest place in the world to live, work, vacation and recuperate.

One Response to Active citizenship

  1. Alex Alleyne September 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    The WEALTH is in the hands a FEW, until it is spread across the and among the “COLOURS”, the problem will remain.
    In Barbados the system is slanted that “they will and must always be ( BLACK) faces at the bottom of the well”


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