Bahamian Politics

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Bahamians have a very peculiar liking for charismatic centric leaders surrounded by this fictional belief that being charismatic equates to good leadership.

This is the continued struggle of the black political culture that suggests social and political change is impossible in the absence of charismatic leadership. This is where leaders of the likes of Dr Minnis and Brave Davis are profoundly challenged in a political era throughout the Caribbean where charisma is indispensable for keeping the audience engaged.

The reason why a leader can be unbeatable on a political convention floor or entirely is really down to the fact that charismatic leaders influence by charm, rather than reason. Leaders capable of charming their followers become addicted to their love and their followers, on the other hand, become addicted to the leader’s charisma and charm.

Charisma disguises poor leadership, so they manage to get away with it. Leaders who handle the media poorly and are under exposed is at a disadvantage in Bahamian politics, making charismatic candidates look more competent than they actually are. The Bahamian people must look for the hidden talent and avoid the charisma trap.

Many people pay attention to Bahamian politicians or political wannabe’s charisma and pay little attention to the intellectual content of their politics and policies. Bahamians must be careful of the kind of leadership that can inspire with its words and fail in its action. Charismatic leadership alone cannot and will not liberate the Bahamian from its economic and social misery only transformational leadership can do that. Bahamians need the kind of leadership that empower them to liberate themselves.

Self-examination is a crucial process for political organisations if they are going to maintain a sense of relevancy and electability. The absence of a succession policy in political parties can foster political unrest, internal conflict, and divisive behaviour. It is unsustainable for any political organisation to undermine and ignore the significance of limited political leadership. The habitual election of leaders in The Bahamas over the past 40 years has created the culture of perpetual incumbency.

Despite the appearance of an electoral process to create a theoretical succession through party elections, the combination of being party’s leader and a broad pillar of political manoeuvring indicates the process is flawed and unbalanced. We have to demonstrate the political and democratic maturity despite the infancy of our democracy, to discuss the contestability of the political elites at the top.

The systematic challenge of political succession in our country stifles the flowering of visions and ideas from ambitious men and women who want to shape the direction of the Bahamas. The philosophy and ideologies of political organisation can only co-exist in an environment where the structures that feed the hunger for power at the centre is at a controllable level. If we refuse to create a pattern and attitude for succession for the Prime Ministerial office in our country from one generation to the other the consequence will be the creation of an office to die for.

The quality of the national conversation on how we get to being a better Bahamas is absolutely a reflection of the level of education in our country. The lack of intellectualism is killing the national discourse. There’s no meaningful conversation on policy development and creating an industrial sector in The Bahamas to improve economic growth.

In the main, we Bahamians get along pretty well, as long as we don’t try to talk to one another about anything complicated. In that event, the name-calling begins. We’re at each other’s throats.

The Bahamas needs a serious mental paradigm shift in our country. Anti-intellectualism is the cause of social dysfunction we witness today. The days of the nation state are numbered and we continue to avoid conversations about the real issue. The circle of conversations is counterproductive to nation building. When we rather discuss whether Ingraham will come back or when Christie will go and place issues like education, social policy and economic policy on the back burner we have a serious issue in our country.

We should all be frustrated having to always discuss the surface issues never getting to the root of the nation’s problems.



September 23, 2015


christee 5 years ago

This is exactly my point. We need to get away from this charisma thing and look for leadership characteristics. PGC is very charismatic, but is he a good leader? Is he a leader at all? We will forever be in this crisis unless we mature to the point where we realize that the ability to lead is not the same as being charismatic. Under this current "charismatic" leader, the cost of living has gone way up while the quality of life has declined for most of us. As long as a politician entertain the masses with his charisma, he will get their support and he knows this fact. That is why we are abused and neglected.


sheeprunner12 5 years ago

Who is this dude??????? ............ where can I buy his book "For a Real Stronger Bahamas"????

Is he a Professor at the University of The Bahamas????????????? ......... SIGH


CatIslandBoy 5 years ago

While I agree with most of the letter writer states, there seems to be one little truth that is sorely overlooked. The national discourse will continue to mirror the national educational standard of "D" Average. It is more convenient to safely discuss personalities, and "gossips" and seem fairly intelligent than to attempt to discuss social and economic policies, and let everyone know that you don't have a clue about that which you speak.

The Bahamas is fast becoming a failed State, and I am convinced that it is by design. As long as the people are kept backward and ignorant, governments like the PLP can always retain power and continue to rape and pillage from the public purse.


Zakary 5 years ago

  • The Bahamian people must look for the hidden talent and avoid the charisma trap.

But reality does not work this way. Charisma equals competence in the eyes of a majority. Psychologically this makes sense. We are attracted to others who exude power, and charisma, regardless of their intelligence or talent because it’s a primary form of power. There are so many talented people in the world, more talented than those who are currently on the world stage, but these people will never be seen by the world.

The same can be said for government, and it’s easier to change one’s self than to change those around you. Bahamians want a charismatic leader, as with every other country in the world, so a potential leader will have to develop charisma. In the music industry, your audience does not adapt to you, but you instead adapt to your audience. That’s how people stay relevant.

I’m not saying it’s pointless to encourage others to look pass charisma, but it’s the same way in most, if not all other countries; it’s not going away.

In a game between intelligence and charisma, charisma usually wins because it’s an active and visual form of power. Most leaders in the world aren’t all that smart but they do exude power and charm. They appeal to the demagogue. Only rarely in history do you see leaders who have that perfect combination of intelligence and charisma.

It's not intelligence that makes you look like a leader, it's bright lights and bright personalities. Nearly all of the world's leaders are demagogues, it comes with the democratic territory. When the party's over it'll be the intelligent people cleaning up the mess, if there's any left.


asiseeit 5 years ago

The Bahamas needs a leader that is a manager, someone who is fair, project driven, and forward thinking. The leading of this country can no longer be about I, my, party, friend, or foe. It must be about us, all of us, the Bahamian people. All of we Bahamians! If this country does not become a country that follows the rule of law, is fair, and safe, well.............................


Sign in to comment