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Leaders – born not made

by Vernon Khelawan

It was not long ago, in this very column I said what this country needs now more than anything, was proper leadership. I make no apologies when I say what passes for leadership in Trinidad and Tobago these days is shameful and uninspiring.

And when I say leadership I mean at all levels of the society, whether it is a civil group; non-profit organisations; the various business chambers; village councils; the list is quite long. Some have progressive leaders; and others have ill-prepared leaders. But the fact is that we have a serious problem where leadership is concerned.

There is an old saying: ‘leaders are born; not made’. It is an adage which if looked at carefully has a great deal of merit. Leadership is the action of properly leading a group or organisation. In some groups it (leadership) happens by popularity and in others by careful assessment.

Some tips as to selecting a leader: A leader worth his/her salt must have a clear vision and that vision has to be shared with others in the organisation and he/she must provide the information and knowledge to realise that vision. Then the leader must be able to co-ordinate and balance the conflicting interests of all members. A leader today must also be able to think creatively in very difficult situations. Then and only then would we have real leadership.

This idea of proper leadership does not only apply to present-day government leadership. We would also like to know something about the ills of the past administration. Talking about them and threatening to take them to court does not really give a true picture. The public needs to know.

We have had many inquiries in the last ten years the results of which have not been made public and we have paid good money for them. Why have an inquiry or probe if the results are to be kept secret? Better not to have costly probes.

The people want to have at least an idea of what is being done about reducing the upsurge of crime and criminal activity in the country. Already the murder rate has gone past the 300 mark with no let-up in sight. But still our leaders remain silent.

The malaise of lack of leadership renders the country vulnerable to corruption and other ills. Our leaders must become true and real leaders.