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What Bermuda needs from its next leader - a list of prerequisites

Sometime quite soon, we will witness another changing of the guard. We don't know who it will be representing us and the affairs of our country, but we hope the person selected is taking this position at the right time, for the right reasons, with the right attributes, and supported by the right people - the absolute best people for the job.

What should those attributes to be?

An ethically transparent leadership. According to Christine G, "Plato (the Greek philosopher) in his "Republic", which expounds the nature of the perfect political state, suggested that political leaders should be awarded their positions not by election, but by careful training from birth to eliminate human flaws.

If we want ethical government, we will need ethical leadership. There is no morality academy for practically perfect politicians, such as Plato envisioned. Politicians are born and grow up in our society, not as we wish it to be, but as it is. All politicians soon learn that if they want to succeed, they have to find ways to give their constituents what they want. If we want change at the top, we will have to change - ourselves - at every level.

Much more truth, far less spin. Most politicians are viewed with scepticism and suspicion the world over. We've become so cynical ourselves that we assume that they will naturally modify the truth to get what they want (for themselves) and for their constituents. Truth is, that we often don't want to hear the truth about ourselves, our budget, our economy, our disrespect for each other and so on. If we want our political leaders to be honest with us, we must be honest with ourselves.

Provide confidence and stability in the economic market place. We want experience, business acumen, knowledge of finance, law, taxation, international governance, negotiation skills, and the sheer tenacity to meet challenges. Where is it written that a political leader should instinctively know how to run a country? For that matter, has anyone heard of political school that a political candidate is mandated to attend, along with two years of internship before he/she can even begin to campaign for a political position.

It is an enormous anomaly, that you can have a politician with little or no business experience running a multi-billion dollar country budget, while the same financial position, if offered to an experienced investment manager will require licensing, security background checks, adherence to a code of ethics, mandatory disclosure of conflicts of interest, and on going monitoring of continuing education.

Yet, however, we expect our leaders to automatically have acquired these skills.

And a few thoughts for our new leader.

We need a leader with a strong moral code and uncompromised judgment, to provide fair, impartial decisions in all aspects of this weighty job. Words are meaningless without actions. Never hesitate in your resolve to make hard decisions. How the tremendous responsibility as leader of the country is handled, will determine your legacy and your place history.

Disclose conflicts of Interest, avoid them if you can. Emphasise these same virtues to all members of your support team.

Impose a register of financial interests by handling personal finances appropriately. Every CEO in a publicly traded company must disclose all financial dealings. Bermuda Inc is no different. Our position in international commerce, and everyone playing a role within that initiative, must be of the highest standard.

Promote and support freedom of the press and individual liberties in a democratic society. An open society is an economically successful society.

Avoid unsavory Influences. Nothing generates more controversy than the antics of the self-serving politician. Almost nothing.

Yet we expect these people to act differently than we do, but we are all only human. We've put our leaders on a pedestal, now we expect them to live up to that elevation and are appalled at reported events that are inconsistent with the halo we've imposed.

Lead by living an exemplary life. Your greatest position, almost above and beyond that of managing the country, is that of a mentor, role model, and centre of influence for young and old alike.

Bring a wonderful sense of propriety, elegance, and real class to this position. It is the only way to be as the leader of the country.

And above all, let your service be honorable service, for the good of all the people of Bermuda.

It is the utmost tribute to any individual to be able to say, he, or she is indeed an honourable person.

If this is what we want, hopefully, this is what we shall receive.

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Published October 23, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 09, 2010 at 2:34 pm)

What Bermuda needs from its next leader - a list of prerequisites

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