This contribution is submitted because of my examination of the Enmore district, which includes Foulis, and which I feel is a microcosm of the wider Guyana. I expect rebuttals and criticisms and that should be so, because Leadership in Guyana, starting at the community level, should be of concern to every Guyanese, here and in the diaspora, and should come under scrutiny – for its paucity or its potential.
For the purpose of this article, my brief definition of a Leader is someone who represents the welfare of persons selflessly and who can motivate a following towards a better collective position on whatever issue or field of endeavour.
Whether in sports, culture, religion, community development, politics -even business- I have a difficulty identifying five active Leaders in Enmore in any one of the above endeavours from a population of about eighteen thousand. Even if I do, three of the five will be mature individuals, i.e. above 35.
The geographic spread mentioned above is peopled mainly by Indians, in fact about 90%. Academics, Professionals, Millionaires, Technicians, Contractors, Entrepreneurs? Yes, Enmore has all of those. But leaders – not many!
It seems as if the education system (particularly at the level of CXC/CSEC), which has robotised our children, has also robbed them of the vital interaction provided by sports and other extra-curricula activities. It seems as if teachers who literally promote the necessity for extra lessons fail to support the need to produce rounded persons. Certainly, aiming for 20 subjects at CXC hardly leaves room for much sleep, let aside sports or other forms of physical involvement.
I am aware that many parents cater to every whim and fancy of their children to the extent of even bringing them up in the proverbial bubble, while living in a state of denial that many of those children are even using hard drugs. I am aware of parents and youths who frown upon any developmental/leadership programme/seminar made available by (any) Government or other Agencies. I am aware of Church/Mandir/Masjid heads, who are unable or reluctant to engage families to attend the House of God. I am aware of many teachers and politicos who just disregard their proteges once the immediate goal has been achieved. In one way or another, there seems to be a silent contrivance to under-develop our young people. We abandon them, and they abandon themselves, at the most crucial time of their lives.
There definitely is a disconnect between the individual and the community, as if the individual does not have a stake in the community, as if the individual is alien to his community. The net effect is that our youths are disoriented and lost when they come face to face with the reality of life outside of the parent-created bubble, when they come face-to-face with adversity. The wider society is as much a school as the home or the formal school.
The community of Enmore cries for effective parenting, since the first leader of the child is the parent. The community of Enmore bleeds for the involvement of young people in self development and community development. The community of Enmore screams out for effective leadership, even as individualism is sucking out the life-blood of the community. Why can’t our individual aspirations blend with the acceptance that there is the burning necessity for our community to simultaneously blood leaders?
Sadly, the challenge to do so seems too much for the people of Enmore; the fortitude is lacking. And the leadership vacuum will deepen and widen. In the words of Martin Carter: All are involved; all will be consumed!
And poor parenting will be found guilty!
Do other communities suffer from the same dilemma??