-as summit opens

Guyanese men were yesterday urged to accept their roles in society, at a leadership summit that opened at the National Cultural Centre.

Last evening’s feature address was delivered by Bahamian writer and motivational speaker Dr. Myles Munroe, who gave a humour packed speech covering various areas of leadership. Leadership, he said, is vision. It is the discovery of a sense of person which then gives that individual a sense of conviction; this sense of conviction leads to a vision that becomes a purpose meant to benefit not just themselves. The world, Munroe stressed, is over-managed and under-led. Leaders, he said, must have a conviction so deep that they are willing to die for it. “Leaders are a strange people…they don’t live in the present,” Munroe said. “They announce what can be better…they see the future and they take you there.”

Munroe, speaking shortly about the Haitian earthquake, said at even in time of crisis when a leader has been left as devastated as his people they still look to him for leadership. “There is crime and corruption,” he further said. “We know this and we don’t need someone to tell us this. What we need someone to tell us is how to get out of it…this is what leaders do; they provide us with solutions.”

How do you know if you are a true leader? Munroe said you are true leader when you have a true vision. How do you know when your vision is true? Any vision that only benefits you, the individual, is not true. “Politicians,” Munroe urged referring to his above point, “write this down twice.”

There is nothing more dangerous, Munroe stressed, than a person with private ambition in a public office. This, he said, is the seat of corruption and those holders of public office who have personal ambitions are not leaders but leaches.

He urged Acting President Clement Rohee and other “leaders” present to embrace their visions, their passion for what they do.

Giving Guyanese advice on how to achieve unity Munroe said they must understand that it is determined by our destination and we need leaders to get there.  Vision, he said, makes unity possible and unity requires leadership. The people, Munroe explained, decide what their vision is; where they’d like to see Guyana in the future, then they must “hire” (vote) a party to lead them to that vision. “Remember,” he said, “do not follow blindly. Always remember to ask “Where do I follow you?””

Bishop Kwame Gilbert, Chairman of Men Empower-ment Network (MEN), said the summit is the first of its kind in Guyana and the Caribbean. It was organised by MEN in observance of National Men’s week. “Global Positioning: Guy-ana’s Opportunity” is the event’s theme. MEN, Gilbert said, was formed last May in response to the increase in Domestic Violence and the need for men to be educated about their roles in society. The organisation’s executive members, according to Gilbert, have been working with men in their communities for many years. It is this wealth of experience and passion to empower men which fuels MEN.

The non-profit organisation aims to engage, educate and enable men to function in society in their various roles, especially those within the family. The group has been working with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security since its inception to achieve this aim. Its members come from a range of cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. They are bound with a common vision to make men the agents of change and building blocks in society.

Gilbert stated that MEN understands the issues which arise from domestic violence must be dealt with in such a way so as to take gender role into consideration. Men who shirk their responsibilities, Gilbert stressed, have a profound impact on society. The majority of rapists, abusers, and high school drop-outs come from homes where the father is absent.

Although many homes headed by single mothers have succeeded, Gilbert said, it was not meant to be this way by God. Men are heroes in waiting, Gilbert declared, and should take their responsibilities. He encouraged all men to let the activities of the last week be a turning point in their lives. “There is a better man in you,” he urged, “Let him out.”

Rohee congratulated MEN and the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security on what he called “this wonderful initiative” to help men find their way in society.

Leadership, Rohee stated, is a province for all and not just a privileged few. In times of crisis, he said, noting the earthquake which destroyed Haiti’s capital, all nations are reminded that nothing is unachievable if there is a common commitment to a single purpose. A single purpose is a key ingredient of great leadership. Leadership, he said, occurs at all levels in society and engages everyone. Further, speaking about the importance of addressing social issues Rohee pointed out that last year approximately 40 percent budgetary allocation represented the social sector.

A dearth of fruitful, rich thoughts and ideas are needed from leaders, Rohee said, and these must be nurtured in the spirit of nationhood if we are to overcome the issues plaguing us.

“When we dream, we must dream Guyana. When we plan for our future, we must plan with Guyana in our mind,” he said addressing fellow and potential leaders.

The summit is one of a series of activities held in observance National Men’s Week. A men’s rally at the National Park will conclude MEN’s events today.

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