These 2014 elections to be held on September 11, 2014, on Montserrat, have several themes that are being heatedly debated by both candidates and their supporters. One of the themes that I hear people repeatedly ask is the question of who will make the better leader from amongst Premier RT Meade and Hon Donaldson Romeo?
It is a very poignant question, one that requires thoughts to go beyond emotive and blindsided support for either man, but to undertake views on leadership that go beyond economics. Leadership, in the context of considering both men, must look at their attributes from within and from outside of the political arena.
As it regards Premier Meade and Hon Romeo, there are various aspects and styles of leadership that have been displayed by both men that can be discussed. However, for the purposes of the piece, I am interested to explore the value of innovative and transformational leadership.
What are the characteristic traits of a great leader? Whether it be in business or political participation, there is no mistaking that having the correct leader with a balanced blend of qualities to steer the business or country in the right direction is paramount for the upward trajectory of the institution being served.
As it regards transformational and innovative leadership, I am of the view that in times of great difficulty and challenge, transformational and innovative leaders can achieve good results - but it is all about positioning, compassion, the messages they deliver via their rhetoric, and their interaction and actions on behalf of the people whom they serve.
Some look at Premier Meade's leadership style and vehemently voice their displeasure at the way he is perceived to operate. But is Premier Meade truly a political bandit as the masses claim? Is he such a mean human being that he has wilfully inflicted tough times on a depressed population and economy? Whether the perceptions of Meade be true or false, that seemingly is shaping to be the benchmark that will determine whether or not Meade is returned to power. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
Premier Meade’s challenge in these remaining weeks of campaigning is not to prove that he is eloquent, clever and can negotiate with the best of them. The challenge to his leadership is that Premier Meade is perceived to be about a select lot of people and not for all the people. Those who say he is not for them tell a story of destitution and hardship under his administration, and are determined to see the back of him through the electoral process. Those who are for him say look at the progress Montserrat has made in five years under his leadership and tell us who could have done better? Either way, the voters ultimately will make their choice. ‚Ä®
For the Hon Don Romeo he has led the Opposition in the Assembly taking over from Hon Victor James. Has Hon Romeo led the office of leader of the Opposition as best as he could have? Premier Meade stated that he, Romeo, has never met with him in five years. Romeo at first confirmed this based on the fact that Meade is not a man who listens. However, the following morning he rang this media house to confirm that he did in fact try to meet with both Meade and Taylor-Farrell and have sent them emails towards which they have not replied, to date. Both men tell a different story, and the ultimate reality is that somewhere within lies the truth.
But for Romeo, he faces a task. Does he truly wish to be Premier of Montserrat? Have the voters seen this posturing from him yet? Is he positioning to lead Montserrat beyond seemingly wishing to institute a mentality of 'looking to the UK?" Romeo is being framed in that light, but he has to seek to produce innovative and radical ideas to boost this country going forward in the remaining weeks of campaigning. Romeo, in these three weeks that are left, must set the bigger picture and show that he can lead this island and seek investment both from Dfid and other international avenues. He must show that beyond being compassionate, he can institute programmes - both economic and social that speak towards personal and collective responsibility. Romeo is tasked with showing voters that he can be a leader who can inspire this nation to be great once again.
Perception carries immense traction either way when charged with positions of leadership. A leader, who gives the perception that they are disconnected and disinterested, will surely not get much production from those that they lead. A leader, who interacts, motivates and who appears to genuinely take an interest, gains a psychological edge in persuading their charges to follow them down a particular path.
In these tough times that Montserrat is are faced with, a leader's role must be one that seeks to enshrine an air of positivity and inspiration amongst those that are being led.
Who of Romeo or Meade do voters trust more in those attributes so listed?
I have always been very keen on what I term 'the advancement of the human condition'. This is about the development of people and their societies towards having the best possible opportunities available to them to push themselves towards success.
With this in mind, if we look outwards, especially in times of global economic challenges or conflict, it was great inspirational leaders like Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and other such men of great character, who showed transformational leadership that helped the world to recover in times of challenge. The motivational rhetoric of these men inspired people, and by so doing, they inspired nation building, creativity and nationalism.
Both Romeo and Meade are jockeying for power and authority over the direction Montserrat should assume for the next five years. Looking over both men's shoulder however, is the question of what is the benefit of having power and authority if either of them are not interested in influencing transformational and innovative change that benefits the people wholesomely when they ascend to power?
Which man will best fill this glaring gap?
Jeevan Robinson is Founder & Editor-in-Chief of MNI Alive Media. A global marketing, news and information (MNI) Media outlet. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org