„The Caribbean region is at a development crossroads and its member nations must take significant and concrete steps to improve productivity and competitiveness and face up to a more global competition if they are to accelerate or even maintain past growth. By taking such steps, they will reposition themselves strategically as an emerging trading bloc for goods and services; without such action, they risk growing economic marginalisation and erosion of many of the social gains of the last three decades – www.worldbank.org

At The Future Centre in Barbados we focus on the delivery of the message what we must do today to ensure a future for our children and grandchildren‚. This is a leadership challenge with the theme no longer nice to do‚ but now must do‚ if the Caribbean economies are to survive as we know it, let alone thrive. We can leave our future in the hands of leaders, only if we recognize that we are all leaders in our own specific way. Some lead regions, some countries, some communities, some departments of government, some organisations, some businesses, some youth and some families. Each of us therefore has one or more major leadership roles to play. If we fail to uphold these responsibilities, out future is in jeopardy.

Last week I attended a lecture on Leading from Above The Line‚. It is a principle-grounded approach to personal development and organizational transformation www.gldfoundation.org by the Global Leadership Development Foundation. This initiative has been developed by Caribbean resources inspired by the challenges of living in South Africa. The principals believe that strengthening the leadership capacity is without doubt, one of the greatest needs of most countries particularly developing countries. It is now widely acknowledged that there is a leadership crisis at all levels in both the private and the public sectors‚.

Participants are taken on a journey of self-discovery through listening, sharing, questioning, introspection, facilitating, reading, researching, leading and being. Since it is desirable that we all become proficient as leaders in our own spheres of endeavour, it is time to choose and Leading from Above The Line‚ may be a good focus for us all to have.

In order to minimize the risk of increasing economic marginalisation and accelerating erosion of many of the social gains of the last three decades, our leaders at the regional and national levels must take concrete steps to improve productivity and competitiveness and face up to a more global competition if they are to augment or even maintain past rates of growth. By taking such steps, Caribbean countries will reposition themselves strategically as an emerging trading bloc for goods and services. Our major resource in the Caribbean is its people. It is time to choose to develop them to the fullest.

There is a consciousness that education and training must be increased. Unfortunately the scourge of chronic communicable and non-communicable diseases, the silent killers, is a countervailing force to the educational thrust. I am reminded of the Latin phrase Mens sana in corpore sano‚ – a healthy mind in a healthy body. To get fit for business, it is time to choose healthy lifestyles which are epitomised by good nutrition, exercise and peace of mind so that there is a receptive host for the human development thrust.

Plans are already well advanced for the Healthy Heart Living – Get Fit for Business‚ Healthy Lifestyle Seminar for Business and Professional Executives, hosted by the Heart Foundation of Barbados in partnership with Sagicor General Insurance Inc. on Thursday, 7th July 2005 at Sherbourne Conference Centre.

Presenters will include: Dr. Brian Charles, Consultant Physician, Accident & Emergency Department, QEH, who will speak on the topic Preparing for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 – Emergency Cardiac Care in Business and Sport. Dr. Adrian Lorde, Family Physician and Vice President of the Barbados Sports Medicine Association will examine the Benefits of Physical Fitness to Businesses. This particular topic will provide excellent tips on in-office exercises.

Dr. Raymond Massay, Cardiologist, will address the topic Physical Fitness and Heart Health looking particularly at the connections between being fit and healthy. Mrs. Shirley Gill, Director of the Cardiac Disease Prevention & Rehabilitation programme at the Heart Foundation will discuss the function of that unit in a presentation entitled Preventive Health ˆ the CDP&R programme.

Dr. Basil Springer of the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust will facilitate the seminar in an interactive Round Table discussion format with closing summations by the speakers. The programme will begin at 7.45 a.m. with a healthy style breakfast and go through to 12.35 p.m., when participants will be entertained to lunch with a guest speaker from Sagicor. David Deane, Managing Director, Sagicor General Insurance Inc., said We are delighted to be partnering with the Heart Foundation in presenting the Annual Healthy Lifestyle Seminar. We know as insurers that the promotion of a fitter lifestyle for executives will be good both for the companies they work for and the individuals themselves.‚ You are invited to book early 437 3312 to be assured of places at Get Fit For Business‚, which promises to be an enjoyable and learning experience.