Burt has it within him to fulfil hero’s calling
George Benson’s 1978 hit song, The Greatest Love of All, later popularised by Whitney Houston, has within it some very important phrases that are appropriate for our political dispensation.
In particular, the words pertaining to the search for leadership: “I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs ... so I learnt to depend on me.”
We as a country now can truly say we have experienced a basketful of leadership types, and that’s from the ultraconservative to the absolute radical. They have come in every colour and hue, they have each left a legacy, making it an easy pick for any leader to decide whose legacy they would like to emulate, or create a legacy of their own.
We have all heard the expression “Gordonite” or a “this or that-ite”, but maybe it is time to examine being the “me-ite”.
Consider the altruistic position in life is such that we will all have a legacy pinned to us by our actions or inactions — and we will be judged by them. In today’s political dynamic, the likelihood of premierships lasting two and three terms is not so promising and is possibly a feature of a bygone era. Which means leaders today may have only one chance to get it right, or for ever be doomed to a legacy.
I can think of a few who probably live with regret and would, if they could, reset their performance.
Let’s look at the US presidency and Donald Trump, who may quote the accomplishments of any of the former presidents and may even extol the virtues of Ronald Reagan or criticise, as he usually does, the leadership of Barack Obama. But in the end, it is his own actions determined by him as seen by the world that are forming his reputation.
Our leader, David Burt, will know that this moment is a fate bestowed upon him to shine or be smeared by the events and challenges of our times. It often has been said that Bermuda is a mirror of South Africa, and I’m sure there will be quick denials, but have we examined just how many ways we are the same?
At the moment, South Africa is going through a leadership transition. After 24 years post-apartheid, the new leader has been brought in to deliver on the abandoned hopes of the South African people for an inclusive country that was tied to the vision of Nelson Mandela. Millions who once cheered at the prospects of freedom, only saw their hopes frustrated by a self-absorbed leadership that could not live up to the thrust of their liberator, Mandela.
This author hosted an economic forum titled “Vision 2030” in Johannesburg the year after the death of Mandela, with the tagline “Let’s continue the mission”, which was sponsored by leading corporations such as Turkish Airlines among other world-class institutions.
It had the attendance and representation of the top institutions from the Brics nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — but aside from courtesy from the former South Africa Government, there was no real ministerial support.
Not surprisingly, there was little to no support from the Caribbean region, either, or from the activists in Bermuda, aside thankfully from the Reverend Nicholas Tweed, who was at the least supportive.
The appetite to do the right thing was not there, but we believe the tide has changed and that we may finally see some progress.
We cannot escape the realities of where we are in a political continuum in which hopes have been dashed, and enthusiasms raised then squandered. I don’t know which comes first, the chicken or the egg, and in this case whether the times make the man or the man makes the times.
Certainly, we live in an unprecedented moment when disappointment abounds and the trust in either political party could not be lower. Yet there is so much need for success that hope is pinned on the leader to find that path towards fulfilling the ambitions of so many Bermudians. This moment has a special call.
Sometimes that big stretch for greatness comes from a small look within. Inside every soul is the answer. It is impossible for it not to be so because the universe is a hologram where everything is connected. Therefore the answer, like the problem, is already there.
We spend too much time living up to outside perceptions and influences, and forget the small voice within. There is nothing grander than a pure heart and a clean mind. They both are the reservoirs through which the right answers and true guidance emerge.
I pray for the success of our leader. It’s not just his legacy that is important, but the fate of the country, which in so many ways is tied to his trust that we hold so dear.
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