EDITORIAL: Changing the guard
Leadership matters in normal circumstances, but when times are tough all eyes are focused on who is in charge. In Barbados’ case this is no different.
People remember who called the shots when things improved, just as they don’t quickly forget who the head honcho was when the deterioration began. History is replete with examples of this in politics, economic, sports – virtually every field of human endeavor.
The need for sound, visionary, brave, and imaginative leadership is one of the issues many people referred to in the last six years of economic recession in Barbados. This is both from the point of view of Government, the private sector and other sections of society.
And this is not surprising, considering that the difficulties the island continues to navigate are unlike any a single leader or group of leaders would have experienced since Barbados became an independent nation in 1996, and probably even before that.
For all these reasons and more, it is noteworthy that almost simultaneously several organisations in Barbados, most of them from the private sector, have changed their leadership. Significantly, two imiportant members of the trade union movement are also set to have new leadership.
It started when Alex McDonald became the new chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association in January this year.
Then two weeks ago, Tracey Shuffer became Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry president, and Roger Arthur started his tenure as president of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados. Last week it was the turn of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, which now has Sunil Chatrani as its president.
Veteran trade unionist Senator Sir Roy Trotman is due to end his long tenure as Barbados Workers Union general secretary this year as well, and is expected to be succeeded by Toni Moore, while National Union of Public Workers general secretary Dennis Clarke has already indicated that he is also stepping down.
Many, if not all, of the individuals who have taken these virtual hot seats would not be new to their various constituencies, but in most instances they are of an unknown quality to the Barbadian public. That said, we have no doubt that they are all competent in their own right and have meaningful contributions to make to national development. However, the difficult situation Barbados finds itself in means that there will be no honeymoon period for them to settle in.
At a time when people are looking for answers out of the current morass new ideas and different perspectives are welcome. However, implementation of previous ideas complemented by the new ones is even more important.