Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]

The next leader of St. Vincent and the Grenadines after Ralph Gonsalves exits the scene would need more than ethos, pathos, and logos.

Being likable and worthy of respect, being able to persuade by appealing to people’s emotions and being able to persuade by logic would be acceptable, but not sufficient to lead this country through 21st century challenges which are becoming increasingly acute.

The next leader will have to have the qualities of a master builder and/or a manager, and will have to possess a deep demand for freedom of thought and action. He/she would have to have drive and determination and the know-how.

The person must have a profound understanding of SVG’s economy, relative to the economies of other small-island developing states and the international economy and international affairs.

The next leader after Ralph will have to be able to continue Ralph Gonsalves’ legacy in CARICOM as a forthright, unorthodox, daring and astute leader. He or she must also be prepared to be a regional leader as well.

Specifically, in the local context, the new leader will have to be able to work around the challenges of a small, structurally-dependent, heavily-indebted, resource-challenged, vulnerable, open economy that is St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The new leader will have to work around what Prime Minister Gonsalves has described as an economy with a weak or limited internal demand, or by definition, a vulnerable economy, which is incapable of generating self-sustaining growth, by itself.

Agriculture, energy, food security, climate change and climate compliance, private sector development, ICT, trade, youth development and the continued development of other key sectors will have to be the major areas of focus.

The challenge of consolidating social and economic achievements, such as the significant reduction of hunger and poverty and the continued improvement in health care delivery and education made by Gonsalves and his administration, will also be a huge task for that leader and his/her administration.

From a regional context, a report by the UWI Institute of International Relations — from a study conducted in April 2011, to analyse the Caribbean regional integration process, to help identify options for moving it forward, seems to suggest that there has been a shift, in the initial focus of regional integration which was centred on competing effectively in a globalizing economy.

The study found that “the new focus now extends towards responding to ‘existential threats’ which bring into question the fundamental viability of Caribbean society itself”.

The report went on to say that in responding to issues such as; climate change, trans-national crime, the decline of regional industries, food security, governance challenges and international diplomacy, there is need for co-ordinated regional responses.

It went on to state that — “these problems are becoming increasingly acute in the immediate present; failure to act immediately, decisively and coherently at the regional level could quite conceivably herald the effective decline of Caribbean society as a ‘perfect storm’ of problems gathers on the horizon”.

With a size of 150 square miles, no oil and natural gas and a population of just over 109,000 people, St. Vincent and the Grenadines looks nothing like a regional powerhouse.

Ralph Gonsalves, however, through his contribution, so far has highlighted SVG in bold on the regional map and has given us an influential voice.

Gonsalves was the leading voice in CARICOM in responding to a number of issues, most of which brought positive results.

Among the examples are: his stance on the revocation of citizenship from Dominican-born persons of Haitian decent, his position articulated in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on the UN-Haiti Cholera debacle; his positions on the CLICO / BAICO fiasco; his moves to salvage LIAT — even against the potential breech of certain provisions of the revised treaty of Chaguaramas, where LIAT’s competitor Caribbean Airlines was enjoying a fuel subsidy from the Trinidad government; his moves to save an important financial institution in Antigua and Barbuda; his continued move towards the achievement of greater freedom of movement within the OECS and CARICOM; his positions on neighbouring Martinique and Guadeloupe in relation to their associate membership of the OECS and other sub-regional bodies and his moves to sign on to Petro Caribe and ALBA to deepen integration between the Caribbean and South and Central America.

In order to be influential in affairs of the region, the next leader must be one who is not afraid to deal with important regional issues or take principled positions, even where he/she is standing alone, just as Gonsalves has done in the aforementioned circumstances and as he is currently doing — where medical marijuana, reparations for slavery and native genocide and climate change are concerned.

Even internationally, Gonsalves has taken less popular positions, nonetheless, positions of principle. His position articulated in very important international circles, regarding Taiwan being able to gain more autonomy from Mainland China, is one such example.

The historical linkage which exists between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Belize (where a great deal of its nationals consider us to be their mother country) could also augur well with our moves to strengthen our position in CARICOM and to deepen ties between the Caribbean and Latin America.

The leader after Ralph must lead from his soul, he must possess strong political will and discernment to be able to bring about needed changes at the right times. He must have an understanding of the times, both spiritually and physically.

The leader after Ralph must not be someone who can promise St. Vincent, or even the Caribbean region a brighter day. Instead, he or she must show that they understand fully, the 21st century challenges and opportunities and must show that they can manage things through the challenges and that they can capitalize on the opportunities whenever they present themselves.

Vincentians must therefore choose wisely, the individual and his team who will take the baton from Ralph.

Demion (Black Star) McTair

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

19 replies on “Desirable attributes of the next leader after Ralph”

  1. Hahaha.What a bunch of hogwash, sometimes I can’t believe the kinds of nonsense that people take time to write. Mr Mctair are you serious ello? What SVG has is a man with an ego that’s bigger than SVG so he sticks his nose in places it shouldn’t be because he wants a bigger stage to stroke his ego.

    There is nothing special about the man, he could talk yes but look how far that has gotten us.I could have done a much better job as PM and I believe SVG has many people who can do much better than Ralph. Again, are you for real?

  2. Excellent article. Dr. Gonsalves have done a whole lot for SVG. Our country is much much much better off since Dr. Gonsalves became PM. Respect is due to the man. Who JAH bless let no man curse.

  3. Dr. Dexter Lewis says:

    Mr. McTair must be a comedian for claiming all of the things Gonsalves has not done as his “achievements”

    Mc Tair claims Gonsalves to be a “regional leader”, “astute”, “worthy of respect”. Are you kidding us? Gonsalves is the pariah of the region. No one of quality wants to be seen in his company. He has gained a reputation in the region, but not for things which most people want to be known. When I travel overseas I still continue to be asked about rape charges against Gonsalves and our famous rape rally.

    Locally Gonsalves has achieved nothing besides an ongoing mirage. Mc Tair wants an incoming PM to “work around” our heavily indebted country and to continue our “open economy” What “open economy”? Are you taking about Bigger Biggs and Howard’s Marine and numerous other such examples of Gonsalves’ understanding of how economies work?

    And Mc Tair sneaks in references to Gonsalves achievements like reduction in hunger and poverty. Where does Mc Tair live? Where does he see REDUCTION in hunger and poverty. I have had the experience several times of friends or family coming to SVG and saying: “so many big homes, so no poverty” That is a misunderstanding of life in SVG. Gonsalves has nothing to do with big houses in SVG. Those are the homes of retuning Vincentians.
    Mc Tair the audacity to talk about Gonsalves “saving a financial institution in Antigua…..” Does he realize that our National Commercial Bank, started by Milton Cato, reinforced by the NDP is now rubble under Gonsalves? Does he not see that anything Gonsalves touches turns to dust? He is wholly unable to finish the airport and have international planes (except Venezuelan) land there. The NIS is slowly turning to rubble having loaned out much of tax-payers monies to failing Gonsalves endeavors? The Government would be required to raise NIS taxes every couple of years, retirees will more and more go without income. LIAT is going nowhere despite its excessive charges to passengers. Can they last another 3 years? I doubt it.

    Gonsalves knows how to bamboozle with words, but has NO understanding of how economy works and his temperament is a disaster for us, the people of SVG.

  4. Here We Go Again says:

    Here we go again, can you at least validate these attempts of praises with actual verifiable data. As a product of the education revolution show me facts with figures, we had enough of the long talk and empty promises.

    “significant reduction of hunger and poverty.” – Yet 10% of the country now dependent on the government through public assistance, from under 1%.

    “Gonsalves was the leading voice in CARICOM in responding to a number of issues, most of which brought positive results.” – Except on any real issue of ethics such as St. Kitts

    “Gonsalves has taken less popular positions, nonetheless, positions of principle.” – Like calling people dutty gwag and showing his middle finger….less popular indeed ??

    “his stance on the revocation of citizenship from Dominican-born persons of Haitian decent” – Yet his silence on the revocation of Vincentian travel freedoms to Canada ????

    “private sector development” – Yet each year the budget carries over $50 million owed with no documented plan to repay

    The replacement just needs to be Honest, Respectful and Decent………..simple.

  5. peterbinose says:

    What it appears from what has been written is that we must re-elect Ralph or his son, this is where this is all leading.

    This is a cleverly crafted, and scripted piece of political crap.

    As far as I am concerned, and I have said this before [using one of Gonsalves own favourite sayings] ‘a worthless dirty dog’ would be a better choice for me than any of the Gonsalves.

    All the travelling, sticking his nose into other peoples business, spending money like water, putting us and our grand children’s grand children into a debt situation that they will never be able to pay.

    All the smoke screens to hide all the corruption in government and ministries, all the people that go unpunished while they plunder our tiny country.

    Wasting time parading around the Caribbean like a Peacock, whilst at home agriculture and tourism has been almost destroyed by neglect and lack of funding.

    Failing for 12 years to act upon reports and instructions to install river defences at Buccament, resulting in the loss of life and property.

    Turning the nation into a nation of beggars, both in Kingstown, regionally, and internationally. Selling our UN vote to whosever pays the biggest bucks or who ALBA instruct us to vote in favour of as a block for political reasons, including for the sake and support of anti Americanism.

    Signing us up to a Marxist organisation called ALBA, without the will of the people being sort, without being part of a pre election manifesto. Joining this group of crap Marxist leaders only for furthering his own personal beliefs and indoctrinations. Putting us into a debt position with ALBA that in my opinion will only come to a tragic end.

    Joining our country politically with Cuba and such countries is also his personal choice, his own indoctrinated choice, its not the choice of the people. We can be friends with any country, but via this man our association or even affiliation goes beyond that.

    Then along comes CADDY KING and gives it his stamp of approval, which confirms to me that this is yet another Gonsalves scheme to try and stay in power.

    I will write you a proper reply to this piece in good time.

  6. Black Star says:

    I feel the passion here. I am however, not perturbed by any of the critical comments.

    The view of no man is absolute.

    I would only advise persons that if they are going to be critical about the essence of the piece – then criticize the attributes outlined – in relation to the “Next Leader after PM Gonsalves.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Some here may hate Ralph and view his legacy as one which does not redound to the honour of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but equally, others may well regard his legacy as one which does redound to the honour of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

    The piece is not about Ralph Gonsalves: It is about the challenges the leader after him will have to face and the attributes that leader (he / she) would need to have to be successful in leading the country at that time.

    Let us try to focus on that. If we can’t.. well then.. it’s absolutely no harm to me.

  7. Teacherfang says:

    Mr McTair, given the context in which you outlined the basis and attributes for selecting our next Prime Minister; then I have to say with all honesty, Vincentians are monumentally f**^ed.

    Have you listened to our politicians in action lately, eh? Look, our political ethos have not evolved from the days of Joshua and the era of grandiose promises. We have been doing and saying the same sh*t from time memorial. The notion that we select a leader for the 21st century is a pipe dream, we have no such leader or eminent voice in our present political discourse( Wait!There is a guy in Bequia but stays in the background)What we have posing as leaders are “charismatic” intellectuals with a penchant to say and do the most vile things and “grouchy” bureaucrats with a better grasp of the economic landscape than the vile intellectuals. This is the reality for Vincentians come next election; these are the choices we have. Nothing else. Mr Vile Charisma vs Mr Grouch.

    I totally agree with your supposition of what is needed to lead in the 21st century;although I have a sneaking suspicion, that you are attempting to make a veiled case for Ralph Gonsalves more so, than articulating a vision per se of the type of leadership needed to steer SVG going forward. I believe, there is a leadership crisis in Vincyland. The respective leaders in our society have done a great disservice to the people of SVG; they have simply abandoned their responsibilities for the accumulation of “wealth”. Just look at our churches, our schools etc; a fundamental lack of leadership, have seen the erosion of basic moral values, even the preachers themselves are corrupt. The leaders in our schools have gone mad;to the point that the entire education system was brought to a standstill due to the extra-ordinary ineptitude of school Administrators to deal effectively with an unruly child. Its was a national disgrace to see children with placards on school premises, protesting the removal of their fellow student and grown folks acting as though the child was a member of Al Qaeda. All because the adults involved, were incapable of leading.

    Leadership is not about being charismatic or opposing everything that the other side propose. Leadership “is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal”. There are numerous definitions and notions of leadership but I like this definition for one simple reason,- “others”. This is the fundamental ingredient of what leadership is all about…the involvement of “others”, empowering others, getting the best out of other folks to achieve a goal. The most important resource of a nation is its people. But when you listen to our leaders and observe their actions, you wonder if they are aware of this basic understanding. Our so call leaders believe they have all the answers to our problems and so act in a fashion that undermine the worth of others or discard those capable of doing a specific task for frivolous reasons. Leadership in Vincyland is one of petty vindictiveness and blind loyalty.

    I suspect at the end of the day, we the people like it so. We are the ones that tolerate this level of disrespect from our leaders. We jump up with glee when these leaders come before us and talk “cloth”. We ridicule and shame others who criticize our leaders; we are quick to be apologists and condone reprehensible acts committed by our leaders. We the people, have to be cognizant of the fact that leadership is not about being charismatic or having a title, leadership is the ability to empower others to do great things and reach a goal. For all the intellectual fortitude of Ralph Gonsalves, he is a resounding failure as a leader. He has demonstrated over the years of this Administration, that leadership in his book, is to cuss out people in Vincyland and then go abroad and pretend he is a statesman. Mr Eustace on the other hand, is arguably the worse kind of leader, a leader by default. Mr Eustace, while a decent man by all accounts, simply does not possess anything remotely close to being a leader. Here is a man, who comes across as he always in a bad mood; seems to have a low threshold for criticism; appears incapable of extricating himself from the shadow of his predecessor;gives the impression that he has a one track mind in terms of an economic policy. And while that is a good thing, do we really need a leader that can’t “walk and chew gum at the same time?” What about other social influence? Mr Eustace is not a leader, he is a bureaucrat, who has a particular expertise. Yes, we Vincentians are truly f**^ed.

    Dr Friday, are you listening? How long are you going to sit in the back and watch your country go from pillar to post? I am of the firm believe that you are the one to take Vincyland forward. I think you have what it takes to empower others to do great things in service of SVG. The time is now Dr Friday, time to stand up and get to work. To lead.

    1. Watching Hard says:

      Teacher Fang I can’t cosign you enough. To add to what you have said, the mark of a good leader is to attract all of the best and brightest around him so that he can have the strongest team possible to implement the most appropriate policies. Good leaders are not afraid of others knowing more than they do. While arguably there are talented persons on the government team, this “leader” seems to be afraid of attracting the best and brightest. If that is not a sign of massive insecurity and weakness then I don’t know what is. We could have progressed so much further as a country if talent and competence had been given full reign in this land. This is what a true leader would allow to happen.

      I’m afraid the status quo will remain, regardless of which party is in power unless our people decide that its time to wake up.

  8. Horace Williams says:

    Congratulations Mr Mc Tair, on an absolutely fabulous, well-researched article.

    Kudos to you, Demion. This is a public disclosure which needed to be made, and you did so admirably.

    Because you looked at the article from a global point-of-view, you could not give adequate coverage to the education revolution which is still sweeping over St Vincent and the Grenadines.

    In 2001, when the ULP government won the general elections, the UWI was owed in excess of $8 million by the Vincentian government, and our students were about to be preventing from registering or returning to the university until the debt was repaid.

    Ralph Gonsalves came to the rescue, paid the arrears and the students were allowed to resume their studies.

    In 2001, when the Ralph Gonsalves administration announced that the Vincentian government would be spending $1 BILLION on education over the next 10 years…. the opposition laughed! Gonsalves has exceeded that projection, and our educational achievements since then have been nothing short of remarkable.

    During Gonsalves term in office, we have moved from having 4 university graduate teachers in our PRIMARY SCHOOLS, to now having well over 450.

    Today, 98% of our teachers are qualified graduates of Teachers College.

    In 2012, Vincentians were the valedictorians ON ALL THREE CAMPUSES at the UWI!

    As far as registrations are concerned, Vincentians are the largest student group at UWI, ON ALL THREE CAMPUSES, with the exception of the individual host islands themselves.

    Under the Gonsalves administration, Vincentians could now pursue bachelors and masters degrees at home. This was impossible before the ULP administration.

    Prior to Gonsalves, only 29% of our students attended SECONDARY SCHOOLS. Today that figure is 100%!

    PRE SCHOOLS were few and far between prior to Gonsalves taking control of our government. Today, that is a thing of the past, and anyone interested in enrolling their children in pre-schools could easily do so now.

    ADULT LEARNING CENTERS, was a foreign concept to Vincentians. Today we have 13 such centers, with 11 more to come on stream in the government’s next term.

    Prior to Gonsalves, our students went to school part-time. Half attended school in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.

    To make things worse, many schools did not have enough benches, and students had to make themselves comfortable on the floor.

    Look around the island and see the amount of new primary and secondary schools which have been erected since 2001.

    Prior to schools being re-opened in 2001, the Gonsalves administration spent over $5 million to rapidly renovate ALL the schools in the island prior to the re-opening of school in September.

    Look at the success of the SCHOOL OF NURSING. From us importing nurses into St Vincent, we could now “export” qualified nurses throughout the Caribbean and the USA.

    Please note, I am only commenting on education. If I were to talk about our comparatively good economy, building revolution, land reform, foreign policy successes, airport construction etc. there won’t be space available to do so.

    Mr Mc Tair, continue doing what you are doing presently……

  9. Demion. I think you should have started with the undesirable attributes we need in our new leader post Ralph Gonsalves–that would have made a better article. Please stop with the ass-kissing!

  10. Ricardo Francis says:

    I am of the view that the leader to take St. Vincent and the Grenadines to her unlimited potential does not currently reside in SVG. Ralph Gonsalves, the political doctor and his team in the operating room have done more harm to SVG and have dispensed diseases without treatment and or cure. The political medication dispensed so far is more disease oriented to the advantage of the doctor and his operatives. There are no added vaule to the policies of this administration which is consumed with self and mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren.

  11. peterbinose says:

    Well if it isn’t the disgraced Horace Williams having been exposed and embarrassed as Simon Anderson, the paid ULP provocateur.

    Horace how is your little Chihuahua? still touring the parks with him? Are you still cottaging?

    Do you remember me asking you about the passports? long before all the current matters arose, remember I asked you the question?

    Horace Anderson-Williams did you know that ever since 2001 the ULP government has annually owed the UWI between 10 and 20 million dollars. At times students have been threatened with lock outs from lessons.

    All monies spent on education have come from the EU and World Bank. In fact most of the projects were already in the pipe line. It takes a 5 to 7 year lead time for these sponsored projects to come to fruition.

    The whole of the so called education revolution was someone else’s idea. And in many cases a natural progression that all the islands have experienced over the last 10 years. Regardless of who is in power the sponsors would of worked the those governments.

    Perhaps you should tell the people about the rats in schools, its been a problem for years and has gone on without ever being properly dealt with. Children turning op for school with rats urine and doo doo’s all over their desks.

    Half the children leaving school, unable to read and write.

    Thousands of young people leaving school and no jobs, because we have no industry, and no one willing to invest in industry whilst the ULP is in power.
    The children have been robbed of a real future, turned out and piled high on a scrap heap. No jobs, no future, no quality of life.

    You remember that before Gonsalves was elected he told us he had a line up of people waiting to invest their money in industry in SVG if he was elected, well that turned out to be untrue. Only Allan Smith bakery came, and Allan told me he regrets that action.

    He also told us that we could expect a 30% increase in wages and salaries, again that turned out to be untrue.

    So Horace I suggest you go and play in the park with your Chihuahua.

  12. SVG needs a leader who will unite the country, instead of dividing it. To use Ralph as an example as a good leader is bull shit. We also want a leader that will help to cut the crime rate and create jobs. I don’t think you can look to Ralph or any one in his party for such qualities.
    Lets’ face it Obama knew piss all before he got elected. He was wise enough to put together the best brains to help him put America back on track. He also made some bad calls, yet he will go down in the history books as one of America’s best presidents. On the other hand, Ralph may go down as SVG worst leader, because of his one man rule. The airport, like the cross country road will take years to complete and will be a drain on the island’s economy for many years.

    .

  13. Peter Binose says:

    Well if it isn’t the disgraced Horace Williams having been exposed and embarrassed as Simon Anderson, the paid ULP provocateur.

    Horace how is your little Chihuahua? still touring the parks with him? Remember the story you previously told us on IWN?

    Do you remember me asking you about the passports? long before all the current matters arose, remember I asked you the question?

    Horace Anderson-Williams did you know that ever since 2001 the ULP government has annually owed the UWI between 10 and 20 million dollars. At times students have been threatened with lock outs from lessons.

    All monies spent in SVG on education have come from the EU and World Bank. In fact most of the projects were already in the pipe line before the ULP came to power. It takes a 5 to 7 year lead time for these sponsored projects to come to fruition.

    The whole of the so called education revolution was someone else’s idea. And in many cases a natural progression that all the islands have experienced over the last 10 years. Regardless of who is in power the sponsors would of worked with those governments.

    Perhaps you should tell the people about the rats in schools, its been a problem for years and has gone on without ever being properly dealt with. Children turning op for school with rats urine and doo doo’s all over their desks.

    Many children leaving school, unable to read and write.

    Thousands of young people leaving school and no jobs, because we have no industry, and no one willing to invest in industry whilst the ULP is in power.
    The children have been robbed of a real future, turned out and piled high on a scrap heap. No jobs, no future, no quality of life.

    You remember that before Gonsalves was elected he told us he had a line up of people waiting to invest their money in industry in SVG, well that turned out to be untrue. Only the bakery man came, and he told me he regrets that action.

    He also told us that we could expect a 30% increase in wages and salaries, again that turned out to be untrue.

    So Horace I suggest you go and play in the park with your Chihuahua.

  14. The Ralph haters all have a chip on their shoulder, please focus on the issues in the article and draw a comparison between St Vincent recognition among the international region in the 1970’s, 1980’s,1990’s and the 2000 period which are being Govern under Ralph regime.
    please analyse the pros and cons.

  15. Horace Wiliams says:

    The negative comments hurled at Demion Mc Tair and our Prime Minister are excellent examples of the types of people we really are.

    As a people, we have continuously been referred to as being CRABS IN A BARREL.

    Nothing could be closer to the truth.

    Here, a young man (Mc Tair), researches and writes a worthy and comprehensive article on the qualities which our FUTURE political leader should possess – – and instead of us discussing those desirable attitudes, we INSTEAD, throw a temper-tantrum and pull down everything and everyone in our path.

    As a people…..we ain’t ready yet!

  16. Roy The Boy says:

    Talk about cheek of the devil, Simon Anderson gets outed and has the audacity to come here under his real name, WOW!

    I remember all the crap he posted and how he was proved a fool by Peter, what a hoot that was.

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