Dear Trinidad and Tobago, we must ‘become the leaders we wish to see’


Originally published on Wired868.com on August, 22nd 2021

Every time Honourable Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley opens her mouth my phone lights up with comments, video clips and messages of longing for a prime minister like her. Just stop it! 

We have whom we have; just deal with it—because in the natural flow of things, that will not change in the foreseeable future.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

I truly believe that our prime minister is doing the best he can (and yes, we should be concerned about that) in the way that he knows and with the resources available to him. Calling him narcissistic, foolish, misogynistic or any other name will not change the fact that 23% of our population, which is the majority of those who bothered to show up on Election Day, voted for the PNM and he is the leader.  

So what do we do?

It is a great question, and my answer has been to lead from where I am in the ways that are available to me. Find your tribe and find a cause, even if it is a tribe of keyboard warriors using the rhythm of the keys to play a different tune for the future.

But in all that we do, let us be respectful of each other. Let us use language that is uplifting and a tone that is respectful even if it is brutally honest, and use our resources to help someone else survive another day.

The Covid virus is not done with us as yet. Continued locking down and implementing curfews are not coping strategies. Realistically the Delta spread we are about to experience will take out several of us; especially the unvaccinated.

Photo: A sample tests positive for the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus.
(via Shutterstock)

Even when we reach herd immunity, the economic, social and physical devastation is expected to intensify over the next 12 to 24 months.

The conversation about returning to normal is bothersome because there is no normal to return to. Even after our borders are fully open and there is in-house dining and some semblance of a Carnival, the conditions will have to be re-designed.  

Each of us has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design our future in a way that makes sense to us and that is where the ‘new normal’ begins.

Living with Covid means finding ways to collaborate and to share resources for our mutual benefit. This might sound like a ‘kumbaya’ strategy which may be considered naïve and unrealistic, but it is a call for us to redesign a society which values honesty, justice, equity and sustainability.

While everyone has been impacted by the devastation of Covid, there is a popular view that rich people and politicians live in bubbles and enjoy comfortable lifestyle while poverty rains havoc on the rest of society.  

Image: A satirical take on the one percent.

As the gap between the rich and the poor widens, the biggest need is to teach people how to use technology to fit into a digitised reality. Never before has the concept of ‘teaching persons to fish’ been more relevant.  

We must embrace the notion that we can’t change the quality of leadership we currently have but we can take personal responsibility and become the leaders we wish to see.  

Let us lead in our individual spaces and make a difference in the country we occupy.

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