“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. Dr Martin Luther King
And so I write:
Fresh political leadership in Bahamian society has never before been so indiscernible, the days of obvious successors and “mantle carriers” seems like a figment in the imaginations of those of us familiar with the “gene to lead”. As we stare into the indeterminate future, we ponder on the potentials, endowments and fidelity of those who will steer us forthcoming.
What is this “gene to lead”?
The gene to lead is an unnatural, unexplainable but obvious transfer of calling from leaders of past to leaders of the present, where the present leader acquires a clear vision, distributes that vision to others, and realizes such a vision.
Despondently, many Bahamian politicians lack what the Bahamian people know to be “the gene to lead” (leadership qualities). For a long time many assumed that the role of leading was an obvious indication that one was a leader, although paradoxical many that lead are now known to not be leaders, as the case currently is.
According to how I see Bahamian politics this absence of leadership is rampant among all political parties. Let it be known that those who identify as leaders but dwell in the silence of corrupt leadership are merely optimistic proxies.
In a rather embarrassing exchange between the longest serving Barbadian Prime Minister Owen Seymour Arthur and myself he asked, “Who is your Prime Minister”? I told him and then he asked, “who will be his successor”? Immediately I was uncertain and realized that a leader that does not prepare a successor undermines their own legacy.
“We don’t need more politicians as leaders, we need more leaders as politicians”
Dr. Myles Munroe
The question of who can lead is terribly contradictory in a democratic politics, while many of us stair impotently from a distance, stalwart councilors usurp the powers of the majority. Regrettably, [We] understand the politics of leadership, although still it is beyond the cognition of the layman, and perhaps the intellectual as well; indeed a reason for the lack in “the gene to lead”.
How can [We] discover or employ Bahamians born to lead if [We] are not the inheritors of [Our] autonomous and rightful claim to choose [Our] leaders. The hegemons in Bahamian society past and present continue their politics of transplantation, our future liken to a game of dominoes, they put one man over here the other over there, yes Bahamians they are playing “Hold Ya Man” with our future. Appointing leaders while leaving them muzzled, such politicians are more committed to their party, stalwart councilors, special interest groups and the almighty hegemons.
Although not my principal interest at this time, perhaps we should also engage in a dialogue that insists on a political system that allow us to elect a prime minister as well as a member of parliament. Another issue for some other time.
“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent”.
The organization of leadership in Bahamian politics does not seem to incorporate the minds of the millennials, youthful ideas unashamedly futuristic, and rather the organization is constructed on conforming to ancient ideologies. In a changing world leaders and those who select them should be reflective of the era in which we reside. This in no way attempts to encourage or endorse leaders that are fledgling, opportunistic and without humility.
The conversations regarding yesterday’s and today’s leaders are slowly fading, we need not be utterly concern about yesteryear’s leaders, for they are soon a reminiscence away from present memory. Where are the leaders of today? And do they possess the “gene to lead”?
While I may suggest leaders of my personal liking it seems incumbent that I validate this notion of gene to lead so that we may all consider collectively and individually the personification of a leader. For this I wish to import the wisdom of the forefather’s, since it is their astuteness and conviction in the “next generation” that has brought us thus far. My goal is to compile key concepts from the great minds mentioned below in order to establish the genetic components for leaders.
“Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Exodus 18:21
Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling:
“I consider this conference to be of absolute importance because each of you will be a part of tomorrow’s leadership whether you like it or not…”You may not have the brilliance of Alexander the Great, the genius of Julius Caesar, but I am confident that you possess the courage of Christ, and indeed that may be the most important quality of all; the courage to stand for principles though the heavens fall; the courage to look a friend in the face and say ‘I think dope is for the birds;’ the courage to be law-abiding; the courage to stay in school against the odds; the courage to be a modern-day Daniel or an Esther in 1983. Courage – that’s what the world needs now.”
Opening remarks to the International Christian Youth Conference, Queen’s College. Tuesday, August 9th, 1983
“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”
– April 1998
John Quincy Adams
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”.
Therefore fellow Bahamians, let us not procrastinate as we look to the future, we must demand more from our Bahamian leaders. Even more so, we must take a more active role in the selection process of political representatives, those who will lead us.
Derived from the forefathers, I recommend these components for one who possesses the “gene to lead”. Bahamians this in my opinion is what you should be looking for in a political leader:
A political leader should be one who fears God, a person of truth, and one who hates dishonest gain. A political leader should also be courageous, having the courage of Christ. A political leader should always be prepared to sacrifice. A political leader should be one who inspires others.
Bahamian people here is your potential political leader.
Jamal J Archer.