“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety” – Proverbs 11:14
Last week there was an abundance of digestive activity as I was fed a varied diet of food for thought in my spiritual, personal and professional lives. I was very gratified to receive significant positive responses to my column of Monday February 27 entitled “The Spiritual Blanket”. Here is an extract from the column: “It is a virtual creation which exudes a tranquil, serene and idyllic environment and allows one who is spiritually attuned to receive the whispers from God who has overcome the world and brings peace to all mankind. What a wonderful gift, how many of us are tuned in?” The beauty about the gift of the Spiritual Blanket is that, with one fell swoop, a diet of solutions magically emerge and inform as to the magnitude and direction of your next steps.
Bevan Springer, in his regular New York Amsterdam News column, reported on a recent presentation on leadership by Pastor A.R. Bernard of New York’s Christian Cultural Centre. He reminded his audience that “leadership is not about how far you advance, but how far you advance others.” The report went on to say: It was a revealing message for many who battle for survival in today’s dog-eat-dog world, sometimes forgetting true happiness comes when we love (a higher form of love) which benefits others at the expense of self.
Rotary in Barbados last week concluded a week of celebrations to mark 50 years of service to the Barbadian community. In the editor’s note at the beginning of the publication to mark the event, it was reported that, “In reflecting over the past 50 years, the golden thread that permeates our history is the keen sense of responsibility with which Rotarians have looked beyond their individual circumstances to collectively address the needs of the community whether through fund raising, or in partnership with other individuals, organisations or companies.”… “Mahatma Ghandi, liberator of nations and champion of the down-trodden, said, ‘the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ As you ponder on your life’s legacy, it is our fervent hope that you will consider our family of Rotary in Barbados as a worthwhile avenue for service so that your life maybe measured by what you have done. Rotary’s motto is, indeed, service above self.”
Last Friday, the Central Bank of Barbados hosted a wonderful presentation by Mr. Siwei Cheng on rebalancing the China economy. The six areas of his presentation were: Saving vs. Consumption; Domestic vs. Foreign Demand; Financial Innovation vs. Supervision; Fictitious Economy vs. Real Economy; Economic Growth vs. Sustainable Development; and Regional Integration vs. Economic Globalization.
The concept which had the greatest impact on me, was the contrast between China’s savings philosophy and that of the USA. In China, there is a major savings culture which has led to a high savings rate. In China the philosophy is that we save today in order to build tomorrow; whereas; in the US, you borrow from tomorrow to spend today. That is how the world got itself in a financial crisis and that is also why the impact of this global crisis had minimal effect on China.
In the very dynamic Q & A session, we did not have time to question Mr. Cheng on his views as to how Barbados and China could collaborate to establish a smart partnership which would result in mutual benefits to both countries; but he did warn that in the not too distant future, Barbados may witness the advent of Chinese banks on the Barbadian landscape. This would be a manifestation of how the Chinese leadership philosophy and savings culture can contribute to sustainable success.
Returning to Barbados for the moment and, indeed, this is true for many States around the world, the system of governance that is practised does not permit the best brains in the country to exercise their full potential in contributing the development of the country. This is because many of the best brains may not want to participate in the political system and there is no provision for them to make a sustained input in the future fortunes of the country.
I have always advocated that it is highly unlikely that elected individuals of a governing party would naturally have, among themselves, the correct balance of expertise required to develop the country. Hence, it would be wise for them to be surrounded by the “best brains” to advise on making the most informed decisions for the development of the country. In the process of doing that they could make the elected individuals look good in the eyes of the voting public.
On Friday night, the guest speaker at the Eighth Annual Lecture of the Fair Trading Commission of Barbados was none other than The Hon. Mr. Marston Gibson, Chief Justice. His topic was “Dialogue with the Courts: How can organisations best articulate their cases before the Courts”. He admitted that, even though the new Justice Building in Barbados was in many ways state-of-the-art in technology, the processes were indeed archaic, the human resources were set in their ways and, hence, productivity suffered as a result. The Chief Justice convinced the audience that his leadership qualities were very likely to take Barbados to Grade 1 health in the practice of jurisprudence. He advised the audience that later in the year they could look forward to significant improvements led by the introduction of Alternative Dispute Resolution strategies.