As Barbados approaches its 50th anniversary of independence and the attendant, we are aware that the development of Barbados – like many of its neighbours – depended on firm and determined leadership.
“God don’t like ugly” is a typical bajan saying, and at this critical juncture in our history our nation is asked to look and reflect upon all those things that are ugly which we don’t want to take going forward as we climb our next hill. We have seen some ugly traits emerging in modern Barbados which we want to leave behind – for example bullying, entitlement, despotism and disrespect.
Bullying is a special form of aggressive behaviour. The world’s leading authority on bullying, Dan Olweus, who designed the Norwegian intervention program, defines it this way: “A person is being bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons” (Olweus, 1991, 1993).
Bullying is a major cause of stress and can leave anyone feeling hurt, angry, frightened, and even depressed. In our society today too many kids and adults alike are the subjects of a bully. We must ensure that our leaders are not bullies
The notion of entitlement has become a disease. The concept speaks to an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment. It is within this context we seek to unravel what has gone so wrong, that elements within this small society could behave themselves in a manner that seeks to separate them from the people they seek to lead. Can we have a secure future where leaders in this society by their actions turn people off because of their “divine entitlement to …things”? We must ensure our leaders don’t display characteristics of divine entitlement.
Our nation is often described by institutions as having a stable political climate. We have never had a despot where a ruler holds absolute power in a cruel or aggressive manner.
Leaders of the past in Barbados were never described as despots and so we had the benefit of a continuing enabling environment that allowed for the quality of life for all to be secured.
The Barbadian ethos dictates that we are led by one person but that one person governs on our behalf within a collective grouping. Our small nation cannot afford to have future leaders who would be described as despots ascend to any high office. This is certainly an ugly trait which we would want to leave behind. We must ensure our Barbados is not victim to despotism.
Disrespect speaks to a manner that is generally discourteous. Within our society this ugly trait has become such a buzz word, that authorities are now faced with designing a response to the growing subculture of such. Children disrespect their parents; parent disrespect children; students disrespect teachers; teachers disrespect students; and citizen disrespect the law. We are even witnessing leaders, who in defiance of request from their former boss not to use their name in public, being disrespectful and proceeding to place that name within the public domain. If someone asks you not to use their name in public for an eminent group of persons then you don’t. We must ensure that the idea of disrespect does not become the norm of future leaders.
Our Barbados must ensure that the ugly traits of the past and present do not occupy a space in the future. Barbados must continue to resist and denounce any element in our society that seeks to portray characteristics of bullying, entitlement, despotism and disrespect and by their actions live by such.
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