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Preparing a new breed of ‘prototype leaders’ in Caricom

BY JAMAL BROWNE

Wednesday, July 16, 2014    

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In these small states of the Caricom we can so easily get carried away in our quest to indentify the brightest prospects for future leaders — the movers and shakers within our communities. And, while it is my earnest desire to see the expansion of this pool of outstanding young men and women, I humbly ask: What are the indicators by which we determine prospective leaders within our societies? What systems have we put in place to nurture a culture of excellence in leadership? How closely have we been looking at our public and corporate institutions in recent times?

A close examination of our region's parliaments would tell a very sad tale — one of dishonesty, self-conceitedness and gross incompetence. A close examination of our private sectors would tell an equally dreadful tale — one of greed, corporate social irresponsibility, and acute insensitivity to the needs and circumstances of those whom they serve.

A close examination of our region's parliaments would tell a very sad tale — one of dishonesty, self-conceitedness and gross incompetence. A close examination of our private sectors would tell an equally dreadful tale — one of greed, corporate social irresponsibility, and acute insensitivity to the needs and circumstances of those whom they serve.

The economic, social, and political shortfalls within our societies today are evidence of a disparity between where we are now and where we ought to be as a people, as sovereign nations, and as a community. Our failure to objectively examine where we have fallen short has thrown our economies and social systems into tailspins of historic proportions — a clear indictment on the state of leadership across Caricom.

Our present criteria for leadership have undoubtedly failed us. So, in identifying the next generation of leaders within our communities, let us start by looking in the right places and for the right people. We need more options — better options — not for competition's sake, rather for the cause of spiritual, civic and personal excellence. Mind you, such excellence is by no means reserved for some exclusive minority. It is, however, a mere reward for hard work, discipline, passion, and goodwill, and is certainly accessible to all.

Whether you are a youth on the block, in the ghetto, in a slum, an accomplished academic, a Christian youth leader or an active member of a civil society organisation, this message is just for you. Make it your personal challenge, and start positioning yourselves to be true prototypes for excellence in the public and private spheres of your community today. Begin by asking yourself: If I had the opportunity to transform my community with just one bold declaration, one noble idea, one simple act of faith, one selfless gesture, what would that be? What is that single most pressing issue affecting my community today? Have I adequately positioned myself to effectively challenge the status quo? Do I have the insight, foresight, discipline and grit needed to effect that change that I envision?

It is my hope that those pressing issues that the youth all across Caricom would have identified within their communities — from the southern-most part of the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo region of Guyana in the south, to Grand Bahama in the north — would act as the spark that ignites the flames of leadership within their lives.

Our region is in need of a new breed of leaders; 'prototype leaders' in government, the private sector, civil society, and even the Christian community. So do you think that you possess what it takes to answer this call? Well, as I am constantly reminded by that voice of reason in my life, once your heart is in the right place, everything else should fall in line.

Jamal Browne is an international land consultant and a PhD candidate enrolled at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. He hails from Murray's Village, Kingstown, St Vincent & the Grenadines. Comments: jaavbrowne@gmail.com

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