Sunday, January 15, 2006

Wanted in Jamaica: A leader with vision and focus

Lynden Bolt, Contributor

Jamaica appears to be headed toward another quagmire. The question is why? The answer is: a lack of leadership. We know from research that leaders share three common qualities: Vision of the future that excites others and generates a willingness to follow them; Great leaders also help their followers to focus on the small number of key priorities that will take them from where they are today to the desired future, articulated in the leader's vision; Finally, great leaders are able to win the hearts as well as the minds of their followers. They generate a sense among followers that they truly understand and care about the fate of those who follow them.

Examples of these characteristics of great leadership are not hard to find.

Charismatic Leaders

Martin Luther King energised an entire generation of African-Americans with his 'I have a dream' speech, a declaration that spelled out in graphic detail a compelling vision of the future he saw for his children and, by extension, for all African-Americans.

Jack Welch, the legendary former CEO of General Electric (GE), was famous for his constant focus on the mantra that each of GE's businesses must be number one or number two in their markets. This was the path to greatness that he had mapped out for GE, and everyone in the company knew it, understood it, and acted on it.

Finally, Bill Clinton was a master of the common touch. He has been described as the greatest natural politician in the history of the United States for his ability to connect personally with people of all walks of life. Clinton could say "I feel your pain" in a way that made others believe that he truly did.

great disappointment

Peter Phillips has disappointed many Jamaicans. His key failings are his inability to create any sense of confidence that he knows how to get us from where we are today to a more desirable future. And, even if he does know, he is likely to change his mind regarding his key priorities the next time he is confronted with a new issue or interest group.

Omar Davies suffers on two fronts. First, he has failed to articulate a clear vision of what he stands for. While he perceived himself to be the 'anointed one', most people are not willing to throw their support behind him without a clear sense of where it is he wants to lead us.

In fact, many people are somewhat frightened with where they think he might want to go with his microeconomic policy to further blight Jamaica's future prospects. People are, in fact, afraid that he has a vision; yet, it's not one that he is willing to spell out quite
clearly, because many people may disagree with it.

Davies also has trouble with the common touch. While he wins some people's minds, he wins few of our hearts. He may well be a compassionate and caring person, but, as a leader, he has not been able to communicate that sense of compassion and identification to the average Jamaican.

Portia Simpson Miller comes out quite well on two of the dimensions of leadership, which accounts for her positive coverage by Mark Wignall and the average Jamaican. 'Sister P' has a Utopian vision of the type of country she would like to lead. While capable of reaching out to the people in ways which make them feel understood and appreciated, she, however, suffers when it comes to laying out the plan of getting from the real world of today to the idealised future of Jamaica. She seems to have a vision of sorts and knows where she would like to take us, and she can connect with many people in a personal way. However, what she is unable to demonstrate to people is that she has a viable plan.

advice for aspirants

So, what advice can we provide to the three aspirants (not exclusive of Karl Blythe) based on our knowledge of successful leaders? They all need to communicate a clear sense of priorities. They need to tell Jamaicans the small number of key priorities on which they will focus.

Any leader who professes that everything is very, very important, clearly does not have a plan for how the country should move forward. They need to work on the 'vision thing'.

They need to stand up individually and tell Jamaicans clearly what he or she believes, where he or she stands; and where he or she wants to take us.

Some people will not like it, some will be afraid of it, but, he or she will not be a successful leader until he or she does.

Peter, Portia and Omar need to be able to paint a clear picture of how to get from here to there, with policies that Jamaicans can accept as practical and viable. And until one of our political leaders (including Mr. Golding) can step forward with a clear vision of the future, a focus on key policy initiatives that will take us there, and the common touch required to enlist the hearts, as well as the minds of the electorate, we are likely to be facing more of the fractious fragmentation we have been living with for the past 16 years of much ado about nothing.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

September - Prime Minister PJ Patterson says he will step down by April 2006.

JAMAICA: Sugar cane cutters strike over factory closure

More than 200 workers have taken strike action at Jamaica's third-largest sugar factory – which is scheduled to close in mid-March, reported Reuters news agency.

Sugar cane cutters threw down their tools at the Bernard Lodge sugar factory on Thursday, demanding to know more about their future employment at the factory. They demanded information about possible compensation and redundancy payments.

The strike puts added pressure on an already ailing industry that faces serious threats to its survival. Jamaica experienced its worst harvest last year, with only 127,000 tons of a projected 180,000 tons of sugar produced, reported Reuters.

According to the news agency, Jamaica is seeking alternatives to sugar production because the European Union slashed the price of sugar from African, Caribbean and Pacific exporters.


UWI students outside Jamaica yet to get grants

Petrina Francis, Staff Reporter, Jamaica Gleaner

JAMAICAN STUDENTS studying on the campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI) outside of Jamaica were this week yet to receive their boarding grants from the Government.

Each year Jamaican students studying at the Cave Hill, Barbados; St. Augustine, Trinidad; and the Bahamas Centre of the UWI receive a grant of US$1,000 (J$64,000), payable over two semesters, from the Jamaican Government.

But the second semester of the academic year will begin next week and the students have not even received the money for last semester.

A concerned mechanical engineering student at St. Augustine, who resides off-campus, told The Gleaner Thursday that the absence of the grant has restricted the kind of books he can buy. Additionally, he noted that he lives a good distance from school and has to spend a lot of money on transportation.

Contacted yesterday, Philbert Dhyll, assistant chief education officer in the tertiary unit at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, said the money was sent to the Students' Loan Bureau (SLB) which is responsible for disbursing the funds to the institutions.

When The Gleaner contacted the SLB, a representative said the students would get the money "in short order".

Big Marcus Garvey celebrations this year


INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED reggae star, Burning Spear, has big plans for this year's celebrations of the 119th anniversary of the birth of National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey. The main event, by way of a stage show, is slated to take place on Saturday, August 19, with Spear himself headlining the show.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Gleaner, recently, Burning Spear, who rose to prominence with the song, Marcus Garvey, said he intended to make this year's anniversary the biggest and best ever held in the island, since Garvey was declared national hero in 1964.


While not willing to divulge much information about the show at this time, and other plans for Garvey Week, He is assuring Jamaicans that the event will be a most fitting tribute to the country's first national hero. The reggae star said he had already placed the matter into the hands of his promotional team in New York, and that he would be providing further information on the Marcus Garvey show at a later date.

Apart from the centenary anniversary in 1987 when the Government declared August 17 a public holiday in St. Ann, and held a public concert at Lawrence Park in St. Ann's Bay, the annual Garvey birthday celebration has been limited each year to a floral tribute in National Heroes Park and a civic ceremony in St Ann's Bay.

Garvey was born on August 17, 1887 at 32 Market Street in St. Ann's Bay, and Burning Spear, who is also from St. Ann's Bay, said a part of his plans is to put on a major music festival in the town during Garvey Week celebrations to rekindle the spirit of the national hero amongst the people

Jamaica's bauxite/alumina production best since 1974

It was a record year for bauxite production despite the challenges which the active Hurricane season presented to the bauxite and alumina industry in 2005, the Jamaica Bauxite Institute confirms.

Total bauxite production hit a record 14.1 million tonnes, based on data compiled by the Institute. Representing crude bauxite produced for export and bauxite refined locally into alumina, this was an increase of six per cent over the same period last year.

Gross revenues are on course for a 10 per cent increase to somewhere in the order of US$960 million amid spiralling costs for key inputs such as fuel and caustic soda.

Total production for 2005 was eclipsed only by production in the year 1974 when some 15.2 million tonnes were produced. However, whereas in 1974 crude bauxite (roughly eight million tonnes) accounted for 53 per cent of total bauxite production (and alumina for 47 per cent), in 2005 approximately 72 per cent of total bauxite production was in the form of higher value-added alumina. In 2005, crude bauxite production stood at 4.04 million tonnes, while alumina output climbed to 4.08 million tones, against 2.8 million tonnes in 1974.

The industry had its fair share of weather-related hiccups in 2005. In late September a severe weather system triggered heavy bolts of lightning that caused the powerhouse at Jamalco to temporarily trip out, resulting in the loss of about 9,000 tonnes of alumina. This was further exacerbated by a production loss, also at Jamalco, of roughly 11, 000 tonnes of alumina attributable to a power outage in late October caused by torrential rains associated with tropical storm Wilma.

Bad weather is also to be blamed for an estimated 400,000 tonnes of crude bauxite that would otherwise have been mined by St. Ann Bauxite Limited.

World alumina production increased by 4.6 per cent in 2005 to 60.6 million tonnes, with much of the demand originating from China, the Institute stated. World consumption stood at 61 million tonnes, a 5.9 per cent increase over last year.

Jamaica 'murder capital of the world'

Every year global crime statistics present a planetary picture of crime and safety. In the past, some Caribbean cities have appeared on the list of the most violent in the world - but countries like South Africa and Columbia have topped the list.

But according to the Caribbean Media Corporation, Jamaica has now been classed the murder capital of the world, after 2005 saw more than 1600 people killed; a tally of at least five people murdered a day.

Jamaica's Prime Minister PJ Patterson said, in this final New Year message to the nation before stepping down, that crime was the country's most pressing problem and called on Jamaicans to play a greater role in the fight against it.

As BBC Caribbean Magazine has reported in 2005, Jamaica's Operation Kingfish - a task-force set up to deal with violent crime - remains one of the Government's initiatives at tackling the problem.

Jerk Chicken voted on list of '50 things to eat before you die'

Jamaican jerk pork and chicken have been voted on the list of 'The 50 things to eat before you die'. The list was the focus of a special BBC television programme that was hosted by noted television Chef, Ainsley Harriot, and shown over the Christmas season.
Television viewers had been asked to vote for the top 50 things everyone should sample in their lifetime, and Jamaican jerk pork and chicken were voted in at number 47, just ahead of traditional British cornish pastries and Scottish haggis "Jerk refers to the Jamaican method of cooking meat, seasoned with pimento (allspice) over an open fire.
This barbecue style goes back 1,200 years to when the Arawak Indians, the island's original inhabitants, used chillies, spices and garlic to rub into their meat and cook it slowly over a hot, wooden grate known as a barbicoa. Jerk is a taste of the sun-kissed Caribbean and is ideally sampled on a postcard-perfect beach under a palm tree. If that's not an option, improvise in your back garden with a barbie, some rum and a bit of Bob Marley," said Mr. Harriot.
The Jamaican specialty received endorsement from one of the voters, Annette Peck.
"I love food seasoned with spices. The smell of it cooking makes my mouth water and the warm spicy peppery flavour shines through - it's like sunshine and happy faces. One of my favourites is lime on chicken, the fruitiness and warm peppery taste reminds me of the Caribbean. The first time I ate jerk chicken I liked it so much I rushed out and bought the seasoning to cook it for myself. My husband doesn't like spicy foods very much, so I cut through the intensity of flavours with sour cream," she noted.
The '50 things to eat before you die' list was topped by fresh fish and include some of the usual foods, including lobster, steak, Chinese food, and roast beef. The list also included some very unusual entrants, such as kangaroo, reindeer, guinea pig, alligator and Moreton Bay bugs of Australia, which are salt-water crustaceans that just look like bugs.
Source: LONDON, (JIS)