By MARK HUMES
DNA national chairman
AT a leadership conference I attended recently, one of the speakers asked very plainly: “When you are driving down a highway, what makes you avoid certain exits?”
Most did not even hesitate in answering – the exits that you avoid do not get you to your prescribed destination.
We were spot on, he said, reminding us that, “Every exit may be a good exit, but not all exits are the right exits.”
That being said, when we look at the state of our country today – crime infested, educationally deficient, morally decayed, selfishly materialistic, complacent, apathetic, bound, and still heavily dependent – we wonder why it is so.
Haven’t we been making good choices? Do not our government agencies and schools have good people running them? Haven’t we been electing good leaders who have been making good choices for us? Yes, yes, and yes.
But when we consider the highway analogy, maybe that has been our number one problem. For almost 40 years now, we have been settling for good choices, good people, and good leaders – and hence our “jacked up” condition today.
I do not want to sound like a pessimist, but I am somewhat reluctant to believe that anything will change anytime soon because so many of us have become so used to just “good” that we can almost no longer even recognise “right.”
The pending referendum/opinion poll on gambling/web-shops/lottery – or whatever it evolves to next – will be a good determinant of that, and I stand and am willing to be corrected.
Until such time, however, it is important for the general public to remember that the undoing of all things wrong in and with our society depends on leadership – leadership doing right things.
I have heard Dr Myles Munroe say many times that nothing happens, changes, develops, is corrected, or succeeds without leadership.
He says that leadership is the source and solution to all problems in society, as it is the leader’s private principles – particularly his convictions – that become the public policy that either moves us forward or stagnates us as a nation.
The quality of the leading and the quality of the leadership, Dr Munroe says, depends on the quality of the leader.
As this web shop referendum issue unfolds, and the Bahamian public becomes burdened with a confusing responsibility that should not rightfully nor legally be ours, it is becoming glaring clear to all who are paying close attention – basing our standard of quality leadership on the above – that we may have a good leader in Mr Christie, but maybe we do not have the right leader.
Good leaders have some of the qualities that our present Prime Minister displays, but right leaders have many qualities that he does not – one of them being vision.
It is inconceivable to think that a man so astute in the field of law would not have known the legal particulars of this referendum matter and foreseen this catastrophe before he set and announced a date for voting.
Additionally, despite the many faces that he has shown publicly of late, it is also inconceivable to think that this leader would still be confused, unaware, and/or unsure less than three weeks out from the original date for the vote.
Can he truly say that he did not have a vision of what should take place and how it should all work together? For God sake, he is the leader.
Be that as it may, we should then recognise our Prime Minister’s performance for what it is: an act that he must execute, regardless of his principles and convictions, at the closed-door altars of politics and compromise.
Stuck now in a quagmire of desperation, the good leader hopes that the good followers – including some in his administration – will follow him into the pit to pull him out.
The shameful part in this whole comedy of errors is that we are all also being asked to sacrifice our own principles, morals, and convictions to do so, and the question is, should we?
Is it better to let a so-so leader sink in the swamp that he created with the hopes that the right leader will emerge, or do we save the so-so leader to the detriment of ever finding the right one?
I know Bahamian people are a forgiving people, but remember, as Dr Munroe would say, “Dull leaders hurt themselves, hurt others, and waste people’s time.”
With an unsure leader who has no clear picture of where he or we are headed – let alone what the destination looks like, we are at another crossroads in Bahamian history.
In the days, weeks, months, and years leading up to 2017, we are going to have to choose whether to get off this maddening ride at a “good” exit or at the “right” one.
I hope that collectively we rely on right and not good sense in making our choice, starting with this referendum, knowing that we have a right to say “stop” – particularly if we are not sure where we will end up. For all we know, we will end up stuck deeper in the swamp with that so-so leader.
If we are ever to arrive at our rightful destination as an independent nation, it is going to be imperative that Bahamians throw off this supposed D average intelligence and give their undivided attention to this most important first lesson in good, bad, and right leadership being put on unknowing by our Prime Minister and his administration, who sit by idly watching their dear leader slowly go under.
It is crucial because our future as a 40 year old nation depends on what we take away from this lesson and this lesson alone, particularly as it relates to right versus good leadership, leading, and leaders.
This is the real referendum issue that is now before us.
After he initially attempted to limit the referendum question so as to force the legalisation of certain web shops on us as our only choice, a good number of Bahamians already have a fairly good idea what kind of thing Mr Christie will fall for.
But we are also hoping that, before the new voting date, we will get a good glimpse of what it is he will stand for.
We are hoping that he will surprise all of us and do what is not just good for the Bahamas and Bahamians but do what is right – as per his principles, morals, convictions, and character. We all want to know that he has some.
His ability, as leader, to take into consideration the seen and the unseen on this matter and turn those into right choices – not just good ones – will be part and parcel with history’s referendum on him as leader, his leadership, and his ability to effectively lead.
And with hundreds of thousands of lives hanging in the balance waiting for Mr Christie to make the right decision, the choices he makes in the next few days and weeks will not only determine whether he is a changed leader, but whether he is a leader at all.
But until such time as history has a chance to judge, we whose destinies have become fatally tied to this present leadership’s shirking of responsibility will have to make a choice that can have a lasting impact on where we end up as a nation.
I caution you to remember that every opportunity may be a good opportunity – as this web shop opportunity purports to be – but not every opportunity is the right opportunity. The choice is yours. Choose rightly.