Making leadership count
Throughout world history good leaders have had to make tough decisions in the interest of the people, while trying to preserve dignity and respect, along with integrity.
Good leaders, and they are not a dime a dozen, are not afraid to make a decision that could create discord within his or her support camp, as long as that leader is convinced that for the long range good of the people, it is necessary to stand firm on doing what is right, irrespective of what price could be paid in political popularity.
Good leadership should be based on sound principles anchored in honesty and truth, something that cannot be manufactured by the best of public relations people. There are times in life when we should reflect on decisions many leaders over the years have had to make, fully aware of consequences should things go wrong.
Doing the right thing carries risk in almost any situation in life. When the late United States President, Harry Truman, fired the beloved and admired General Douglas MacArthur, a hero of the Second World War, over the war in Korea, he knew he would encounter a wave of criticism and scorn.
As the Commander in Chief, the President had issued an instruction which did not meet favour with the General. Although MacArthur's military skill was to hunt and destroy the enemy, Truman, had no intention of escalating the conflict between North and South Korea to involve China, after they launched a military attack to assist Communist North Korea.
It was a tough call. Many Americans were stunned to think one of the nations most celebrated Generals would end a glorious career in this manner.
Although the Generals farewell speech to the US Congress was powerful, which I heard live on radio at that time, the President never shifted from having to make that decision.
Leadership decisions can be tough, but good leaders usually make bold moves when they believe it is the right thing to do ... A good decision is one that upholds transparency, accountability, dignity, and truth.
Here in Bermuda during these challenging times, we are in need of leadership that is willing to step out of the box of closed circuit political interest. Our island is too small not to recognise that playing political games could be detrimental to us all. The leadership we need must connect with all people are not a close knit group of supporters.
It is not news across our island home, that there is considerable discontent over the performance of the Progressive Labour Party Government, and this is acknowledged by some of their most avid supporters. After 14 years at the helm, and a litany of questionable matters surrounding their handling of the public purse, only blind followers would refrain from at least wondering if proper standards had not been breached by some in responsible positions.
Findings of the Auditor Generals Office, over various financial irregularities cannot be dismissed as a few mistakes by Government authorities, which have been rectified with the introduction of good governance policies to prevent it from happening again. Any Government can make a mistake, but there is a difference between a mistake and what many perceive as incompetence. Strong perception but it is there.
No right thinking Bermudian wanted to see the PLP Government fail. To the contrary, many thought once elected, Bermuda would move to an even clearer version of social harmony, transparency, and accountability. Sadly, over the years, hope of that happening faded, and questions linger over credibility damage, which is not easy to repair.
While some Bermudians are bitter and angry about this, personal attacks or insulting remarks about those in positions of authority lowers our own standards in upholding basic respect, which should be accorded to even those we vehemently disagree with. That is what a healthy democracy is about.
The bottom line is that while Bermudians have the right to fully express their views about any Government performance, respect and dignity should accompany their concerns. Easier said than done, when anger and emotions boil over.
The approaching general election will undoubtedly trigger strong emotions over a wide range of issues facing Bermuda. Hopefully during this crucial time in our history, the electorate will think deeply before deciding who they wish to lead Bermuda and its people to a better future. It will be a formidable task no matter which political party wins, but for Bermuda itself to win, our best talents and skills beyond party affiliations should be fully utilised for the good of all Bermudians. It is the only logical way forward.
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