By MALCOLM STRACHAN
LAST Thursday marked the third anniversary of the death of Pastor Dr Myles Munroe and his wife, Pastor Ruth Munroe – and The Bahamas is sorely missing the kind of leadership he embodied. The world - and The Bahamas in particular, lost a giant of a leader and man when Pastor Munroe’s plane crashed on November 9, 2014. His teachings have endeared him to millions of students all over the world still mourning the passing of him and his wife. Left to carry the baton are their two children, Myles Jr and Charisa, who have been thrust into the leadership of Myles Munroe International and remain connected to their father’s vision.
Myles Munroe’s teachings on leadership earned him early recognition by the nation’s first prime minister, Sir Lynden Pindling. Pindling, who recognised Munroe’s magnetic ability to attract a large following at the young age of 18, gave his life to Christ at a meeting led by a young Munroe.
Having the power to intrigue a prime minister who was at the time a very popular figure himself, this instance gave the young Dr Munroe insight into the giant he would become. Munroe and Pindling forged a life-long friendship. Munroe’s journey was just getting started. After obtaining a bachelor’s degrees in fine arts, education and theology, a master’s degree in administration and later honorary doctoral degrees, he returned home to continue his ministry.
Munroe also led ground-breaking efforts to bring religious programming to secular TV and radio during the week, when it was previously relegated to Sundays.
Little did he know, his accomplishments then would barely compare with the indelible mark he would leave on the world.
In his 2005 book, The Spirit of Leadership, Munroe analysed the spiritual intricacies of leadership, focusing on its intrinsic nature to all human beings. He said, “Every human has the instinct and capacity for leadership, but most do not have the courage or will to cultivate it.”
At a time when the country is in dire need of individuals who embody the spirit of leadership, as postulated by the late Pastor Myles, many Bahamians feel lost - as we have not been confident in any government leading the country in decades. In an excerpt from Munroe’s book, he says: “There are many who confuse the position of leadership with the disposition of true leadership. No matter what position one may be given, status in an organisation does not automatically create leadership. Genuine leadership is one’s internal disposition, which relates to a sense of purpose, self-worth, and self-concept. Others have confused leadership with the ability to control others through manipulating their emotions and playing on their fears and needs. But true leadership is a product of inspiration, not manipulation.”
Bahamian politics has long been a game of who can induce the most fear within an electorate. Fear has been what drives us. Fear of the white “bogeyman”. Fear of the murderous bandits who have run amok in this country. Fear of deteriorating economic circumstances. We are all motivated by what frightens us. Average citizens face fears they won’t be able to leave any legacy to their future generation, as they themselves merely struggle to get by.
After the PLP’s last disastrous term in government, Prime Minister Minnis, who no one thought would emerge victorious, played the electorate’s fear to his advantage and became the nation’s fourth prime minister. We are now six months in to this term in government, and Minnis continues to seem in over his head. Despite his best efforts, he simply does not seem to have “the juice” – that stuff that illuminates leaders from within.
As much as we had hoped for him and felt on May 10 that he would be the one capable of shepherding this country, disappointment looms. More and more, it seems as though the country was just on a high. It felt good to see the PLP on the outs. However, we are still desperately in search of someone who has the true spirit of leadership.
After the outrageously-timed announcement of salary raises for MPs, the only people speaking out in defence of the prime minister were members of his government. Why should a young, 22-year-old Travis Robinson have to come to the prime minister’s defence? Why is the Minister of National Security or Minister of Works trying to clarify the prime minister’s statements? When reporters from the local dailies requested comment from the prime minister on the matter, he ducked and dodged; scurrying away from the opportunity to explain himself.
While we have respect for Anthony “Ace” Newbold, his position as Press Secretary has only crippled Prime Minister Minnis further.
How can a man’s word have any merit if he is not prepared to stand on it?
That alone speaks to not only the character of a man, but also that of a leader. Former Prime Minister Hubert Alexander Ingraham, whether you love or hate him, was such a man. His predecessor, Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, regardless of your feelings toward his legacy, was also such a man. Minnis’ predecessor, Perry Gladstone Christie, whether you left his monologues with any semblance of understanding or not, was also unafraid to speak up for himself. At this point in time, The Bahamas needs a prime minister that is prepared to lead with a steady hand. This is more important, perhaps than any other period in this country’s 44 years of being an independent nation.
In one of Pastor Myles’ sermons that went viral leading up to and after his death, he prophesied new leaders would rise up in The Bahamas. In one of his most inspiring sermons ever, he spoke as a man who saw a changing of the guard on the horizon. Bahamians waited with bated breath for this powerful prophecy to come to fruition. As the months leading up to election season ticked down, Bahamians wanted so badly a new day after suffering under a reign of haughty PLP leadership.
Prime Minister Minnis, who was seen as the relentless underdog, fought tooth and nail to the top of his party. Now in the spotlight of prime time, we need the prime minister that showed the resilience and strategic prowess to obtain leadership of his party to rise to the occasion.
This consistent bungling of statements from within his cabinet and out of his own mouth needs to be checked. Fittingly, the government has to get on a shared sensible message and work as if they are following a plan. As of now, it seems they are shooting from the hip at an incredibly inaccurate clip.
It is still early in the term and possible the ship can be steered in the right direction. However, the government needs to make haste with getting its act together. The talk around town is getting louder within the barber shops, hair salons, street corners and around water coolers. The citizenry is not happy with the Minnis administration’s leadership thus far.
If Pastor Munroe was correct, and we believe he was, the spirit of leadership resides within us all. As the holiday season approaches and Parliament will most likely go on another hiatus, it is our hope the prime minister takes some time to go on a journey of self-discovery. We need him to tap into his leadership spirit. As this year comes to a close and we begin another, perhaps our prime minister can find the leader in himself and become the man we need him to be.
We remind the prime minister of a quote from Pastor Myles Munroe: “Leadership is a trusted privilege given by followers.”
That being said, the Bahamian people have entrusted Prime Minister Minnis to lead the nation. It is fine time that he steps up to the plate and do so. Prime Minister, we implore you not to mistake the “position” you hold for the “disposition” you should hold. The Bahamian people will not be merciful when it is time for their voices to be heard again.