Friday, Nov 15, 2019
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Examining political leadership 

Dear Editor,

Political leadership is vital in any society regardless of the form or type of government.

The differences in forms or types of government run the entire spectrum from dictatorships, communism, socialism, fascism, monarchy, republic and/or, of course, the elusive and debilitating democracy.

Here in our blessed country we are able to boast of some 300 years of “democracy” even if full suffrage did not come about until the 1960s.

Out of all the assorted forms and types of government, according to the late Sir Winston Churchill, the former celebrated prime minister of the UK, back in the day, democracy is the best one but often unmanageable. I fully agree with his proposition.

We say that we practice a form of the Westminster style of government or a parliamentary democracy.

The voters elect representatives who then collectively exercise legislative powers, et al, on their behalf. We have no system of formal recall so once a person is elected to the House of Assembly, he/she is able to remain there for the full term even if and when he/she falls out with the ruling administration. This has been demonstrated time and time again.

Political leadership is a necessary evil, so to speak. Most of our prime ministers have shown this quality although in different forms and degrees of intensity.

The late and deeply lamented “founding father”, Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, our first prime minister, was a master at the political craft. He possessed uncanny people skills and was able to mix and mingle with all and sundry. These traits were the links to his long public career.

Former Prime Ministers Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie possess some of Sir Lynden’s abilities as a leader but they both pale in comparison to his achievements.

Ingraham was focused and disciplined but he had rough edges and the knack to rub people the wrong way. He was also, as a leader, too dismissive.

Brother Christie came into office the first time almost like “pretty boy Floyd”. Christie was all bluster. Yes, he had the ability to speak like an orator but, sadly, he lacked the ability to take the ball over the finish line or to close the deal.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis is a work in progress as we speak and he is apparently having a hard time focusing.

He also lacks the ability to speak coherently on complex issues.

I do believe, however, that he is rising to the requirements of political leadership. He demonstrated tenacity during the brutal crusade led by the former parliamentarian Loretta Butler-Turner and Duane Sands to unseat him permanently as leader of the FNM. I do believe that Minnis did learn some vital political lessons under Ingraham’s mentoring. It remains to be seen if he’s an A, B, C or D student.

Philip Brave Davis, leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, is a natural-born leader. He is focused and he is pragmatic. He is also determined to bring about a better life for all Bahamians.

In addition, he has the ability to convey his messages in plain and simple language, to communicate the same to the unwashed masses.

Like Minnis, unfortunately, Brave is not capable of speaking in the manner of the late Sir Lynden or even Brother Christie. His other traits, however, like Minnis’, make him prime ministerial material.

As the nation rebuilds following Dorian, Bahamians are looking for serious political leadership.

The psychology of this type of leadership, however, has never been studied, much less applied.

A noted industrialist in the USA back in the day, Clarence D. Randal, former chairman of Inland Steel, wrote: “To be worthy of responsibility today, a man must have insight into the human heart, for unless he has awareness of human problems, a sensitivity towards the hopes and aspirations of those whom he governs, and the capacity analysis, he is doomed to failure.”

Minnis and Davis are the cream of the crop and they are destined to wage the mother of all political battles in short order as they both seek leadership in excellence.

– Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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