Monday, 25 April 2011 02:30
By Dr. Isaac Newton
Dearest Honorable Lovell, It pains me to write this letter, which may not charm at first sight. Yet, carefully read, it contains answers to national fortunes that you should activate.
Because of a very extraordinary pattern that suggests that your good sense is best suited to the needs of a long vacation, I had to break with my earlier commitment to ignore the political disaffection that engulfs you. Every time I listen to your speeches or read quotable sayings attributed to you, it appears that the axiom of learning from failure is warmly embraced. Only in successes are permanent lessons gleaned. Character is weakened, not developed, through tragic performance.
Your consistent use of deft eloquence and a variety of genres to further float trial balloons and sculpt random sentiment, triple our country’s hopelessness. Take comfort in the superior merit of critical thinking. It exposes hidden talent. Remember that untold innocents are likely to pay a high price for talking-points politics.
Harold, the time is right to stop chasing pretty butterflies over dangerous waterfalls. Antigua & Barbuda needs real solutions. Your overall management of the Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Public Administration demonstrates that melting an iceberg with a matchstick won't work.
On matters of economic recovery, I am mystified at how a good pilot could fly into a deadly hurricane with little regard for the safety of passengers and crew, or the plane itself. My single concern is for you to prove to every citizen and resident that the government is still functioning. I recommend realistic problem-prevention and solution-intervention.
The man and woman on the street need to benefit from the government’s bread and butter initiatives. People want to be relieved from daytime fears and midnight worries. Woo local investors and create a supportive environment for them to profit from their investments. Show greater priority to strategic planning so that struggling families can work for a livable wage. The best safety net against unemployment is job creation. For these reasons, you should become a one-man change squad.
What is most humbling is to be burdened completely by so many global, regional, and national difficulties. Yet, our country has not recovered from the United Progressive Party's house being in such great disorder. Notwithstanding, you must not allow your actions to be permeated by a love for beautiful nothings -- BOOT; NEST; ACTION PLANS - A, B, C; WTO wars; and FDI discussions. As currently pursued, none of these activities will improve the economy.
Understandably, no one will speak this difficult truth to you because of the fear of victimization and the need to curry favour. As you know, I am not delighted by behaviours destructive to human flowering, but I weep over your disappearing good nature. I exhort you in the name of country and God, to stop letting your leadership reveal itself as no more than a shell of a palace.
Stay clear of the plight of disoriented leaders. They just don't know that they don't know, and consequently, they make the mistake of interesting matches. The alternative is not to abandon the nation to fate. Instead, choose excellence in deed and word. This approach will open the door to scout for the right talent. And there is something bold and prudent in using the right talent to overcome our country’s pressing challenges.
Frankly, I did not expect this level of questionable performance to come from you. No need to wear an un-teachable spirit as a badge of honour or dance with blindness as a matter of principle. Time and time again, privately and in the public domain, I have given you solid advice, waltzing with strategic direction and sustainable intelligence. For petty reasons, you've ignored my ideas while being hurried into great misfortunes.
Yet, with patience and hope, I have encouraged you to become the right man for the nation, so that you can make principled decisions. Sadly, you continue to applaud yourself with eminent stubbornness, to the detriment of the good people of Antigua & Barbuda, and your political future. But I expected you to disprove the words, “It can’t be done!” I wanted you to deliver high level operational performance and participate in turnaround management, using experience-backed judgement.
Harold, having a positive notion of life can open the door to detect opportunities in tragedies. In this age of social media and political enlightenment, expediency won’t fool the masses. I have seen many thoughtful articles sparkling with wonderful ideas. They were written with nationalistic pride from devoted citizens living at home and abroad. But they have all miscarried. Thus, you see why I suspect that false pride, trifling jealousies and downright bad mindedness have taken advantage over studied insights, self-assessment and the courage to change for the better.
Strictly speaking, there is but one major evil that you should avoid: the incapacity to empower the masses with the wealth of the nation at your disposal. Since the recent passing of my father, I have begun to see more clearly what he taught me to grasp, which is how vices are often hidden under the name of virtues. Sincerity, competence, integrity, mission-critical results, and leadership ambitions are great virtues, but pursued without discretion, destroy the country. Know that the folly of fame can cloud good decisions. And every poor decision made on behalf of the people of Antigua & Barbuda represents taking food from the hungry, robbing the homeless, and hurting the wounded.
In contrast, wise decisions are essential priorities for nation building. Our people are a longsuffering bunch. With utmost civility, they will act in the interest of the common good. For me, conscientious people resisting bad governance is democracy in abundance. Don’t dismiss the fact that Antiguans & Barbudans require the best intelligence from our leaders. Working together across the political divide to raise the standards of living for everyone is a noble goal. Go for it.
There is another peril; traumatic blame may yield shortsighted political capital and fruits of all sorts in the scheme of party politics. In the wider context of development, blaming opponents does not evoke imagination, innovation, and life-saving performance. It is better to mentor and lead people to willingly give 100 percent effort and loyalty to your new vision.
I hope I have regulated this correspondence to a manner more truthful than comforting. Honestly, I do not want future generations to look back at your tenure in public office with horrifying regret. Already, Prime Minister, Baldwin Spencer’s genius deserved a better fate. His constituents expected lasting legacies from realistic changes. But I cannot help noticing that towering disappointment has run through Spencer’s leadership, and still lingers with haunting effect. There is a lot of damage to repair. But if you are willing to do your best for Antigua & Barbuda, the vast majority of our people will support you.
A new consciousness is ready to be born; a transformative movement is here. Can you be respected as a proponent of inspirational leadership, empowerment and accountability? While others doubt, give me every reason to shout -- Yes, you can!
Dr. Isaac Newton is an International Leadership and Change Management Consultant and Political Adviser. He specializes in Government and Business Relations, and Sustainable Development Projects. Dr. Newton works extensively, in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America and is a graduate of Oakwood College, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. He has published several books on personal development and written many articles on economics, education, leadership, political, social, and faith based issues.