As a people we have to start setting at least some minimum standards for our leadership, particularly at the levels of President and Prime Minister. Our leaders should come into positions of leadership, especially these two positions with some core values and principles which will guide their decision making and journey as leaders.
We have to also begin to train our children and young people to become leaders. The young student who attained the first position for the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) this year, indicated that she would also like to become President of Guyana. We have to develop leadership qualities in our children and young people and inculcate in them the requisite values, lifestyle and principles for high offices in our country.
Some of our current leaders on both sides who may have their eyes on the Presidency and Prime Minister position have a lot of baggage and they need to come clean. Guyana is a small place and people talk eh! I am all for forgiving wrongdoings because I believe that the love of God covereth a multitude of sins but our leaders must come clean.
Some of our leaders wake up one day after doing all sorts of things and realize that they want to run for high office; nothing is wrong with that but they must come clean. Repent, ask for our forgiveness, let’s know what you will do differently; and let’s move on.
Our leaders must understand that the season for doing whatever they want and leading however they want, has ended; this is a new season, we are demanding the highest standard of leadership in this season! And we will not be afraid to call you out on your wrongdoings. I am serving notice. We must hand our children a better Guyana than the one that was handed to us. Guyana has enough for all 750,000 of us and more.
Albert Einstein said that ‘the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything’.
Back to the point of values and principles, leaders or anyone for that matter, cannot give out, what they do not possess therefore our leaders must come to positions possessing some fundamental values. One of those values must be an understanding and respect for the role of the institution of the family in any society.
Families in Guyana are perhaps at the lowest point we have seen or experienced. Single parenting is a huge challenge. Many studies have showed that many children who were brought up in single parent households face a high probability of becoming involved in crime, teenage pregnancy and falling victims to other social ills. Many persons committing crimes are between the ages of 15 – 25.
Most recently, we have seen a dramatic increase both in the number and the severity of ‘family violence’. It is clear that many of our people and families are experiencing difficulties in coping with challenges of life and much more needs to be done to assist families to cope. The family is the first place where a person learns coping skills; we need to strengthen families. However, a fundamental aspect is role modelling for not only young people but generally the people that you lead.
The next President and Prime Minister must be married. Emotional stability is extremely important for leaders at this level and we must hold our leaders to higher standards. If leaders have a gross instability in their own lives they more often than not, transfer that to the people and organisations that they lead, for e.g. through their decision-making and the range of considerations which inform their decision making and actions which can have long term impact on a society.
Finally, on another point of strong families, it should be a part of the medium to long term economic agenda to strengthen the institution of the family as a strategic development objective for increasing the population. The more stable families are, particularly in the Guyana context, the more likely they are to expand.