It is now time for the advancement of a nationwide backed and government-sponsored Community-Based Participatory Research intervention into emotionally distraught and morally disengaged communities throughout the Bahamas. Community social ills in the Bahamas now require an ethnographic fieldwork approach; such an approach is necessary to resolve community problems by inquiring and facilitating each member’s diagnosis. Although regarded as a Christian nation, the Bahamas does not have a single, comprehensive, and coherent way of addressing ethical issues or dilemmas. Hence, we have seen an ad hoc approach to crime and other social problems. This must change. From afar, there seems to be disarray, we continue to be a society plagued with many lackadaisical followers and so few leaders. That is, many adults religiously point to their vicarious learning experiences as the scapegoat for all their questionable choices and poor judgment. In truth, as we scholars begin to contemplate on ways to change the moral fabric of our Bahamian community, this will not be possible unless we allow the affected peoples to tell their own stories and recommend their own solutions. We must begin and end with the peoples’ voice, we must only be guides and facilitators.
I have seen the majority over the minority in democracy, gender over fairness in equality, and rich over poor in social class…the clamor for justice appears to be self-interested and instrumental… with an often disregard for justice, desire seems to be motivated by our pleasure over another’s pain. Arguably, the quest for diverse equality in many ways breeds new inequalities. As I see it, the problem intrinsic to the implementation of justice is that it has the unintended consequence of creating divides, a departure from its envisioned harmony. That is, in a community of people, we are often uncertain who are the losers in Justice, and the winners in injustice. Nevertheless, Justice was never meant to be a tool intentionally focused on the individual’s interest but designed to manage and protect a well-ordered society.
“Diffusion of Democracy” is lauded as the path to global unification. The concept diffusion of democracy presupposes one nation superior to another across a spectrum of ethical systems (business, governance, care, finance, religion, social). The construction of power grants those deemed at its apex the privilege to espouse value-laden judgments on the inferior, although such dogma is nothing more than the privilege of the powerful. In a world guided by mistruths and intimidation, democracy can hardly unify the nations. Unity requires respect for nation sovereignty, cultural differences, and transparency in the ethics of global social justice. The collapse of systems must occur before they can ever unify.
I have had the personal experience of defending black history and future, after an intellectual discussion on justice and reparations with astute peers at a very high academic level, I feel many may be sympathetic for blacks but hardly empathetic. Although blacks grapple with institutional racism, the aging systems, and its members are comfortably set, with few incentives to change the trajectory of the status quo. I sat at the table of human diversity, as a representative, so many questions and a vague consensus on a solution.
The pace of the world quickened at the very thought of black freedom, nobody has looked back not since emancipation, a race to the top, looking back may slow [us] down. For many people the phrase “reparatory justice” sounds a lot like the claim “unequal distribution of resources”, in a world where equitable distribution does not mean “equal” division – it means “fair” division, where those who determine what is fair also determine what is equal, in violation of the separations of powers principle.
I am left pondering.
“Occasionally it seems as though the more voice attained by the people, a conversation is abandoned for babel. If democracy is the closest we will get to equity, then inequality must be the accepted phenomenon of humanity”.
“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.