Letters & Opinion

Effective Leadership and Good Governance for St. Lucia: Desirable qualities for the New Prime Minister and Government

Sylvestre Phillip M.B.E
By Sylvestre Phillip M.B.E

I Have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the new Prime Minister of St. Lucia and his government would demonstrate effective leadership which would promote good governance and bring about the true happiness that most, if not all, our people have been yearning for.

As it relates to the governing of our country, what do I mean by effective leadership? We expect the new Prime Minister to cultivate essential leadership qualities such as: Accountability, adaptability, confidence, creativity, empathy, focus, positivity, risk-taking, stability and, very importantly, team building.

Let’s examine the trait accountability. The government leader should take full responsibility for the performance of his team. He should “big up” team members when they perform well, and should take full responsibility if they promote irritable, undesirable “doctrines” and be open with his team about unfavourable comments.

Now, on the issue of adaptability, the experienced leader understands that plans, schedules and even goals can change at any time. As stated in his Party’s 2021 manifesto, he states: “My task, together with my team of able men and women is to restore Saint Lucia to a level of financial stability and to create an enabling  environment for wealth creation and employment, particularly among the youth”. As the team proceeds, it may become necessary to adapt this goal in order to overcome unexpected challenges rather than resisting them.

Then the issue of confidence will come into play. As a key figure in the government, the leader should demonstrate confidence to instil, promote, and demonstrate that trait in order to instil motivation to the members of his team. Leaders who have this quality, also tend to build trust quickly with team members.

As for creativity, the leader of government is expected to embrace new ways of thinking and strategies that others have yet to try. Again, in its manifesto, the leader together with his team will: “exempt workers earning up to $4000 per month from paying income tax, which will ensure more disposable income and purchasing power for workers. This is a fiscal and economic strategy which should put more money in the pockets of hard-working citizens.

As St. Lucians, we recognize that the government has a very long way to go in restoring our country to economic and financial stability to grow the economy. However, it has identified starting points in which to achieve its social and economic objectives.

Then the leader must be focussed to handle possible distractions. And there will be plenty of distractions and distractors while achieving major objectives. I have every reason to believe that he would be able to achieve his team’s goals and be able to manage their time and resources effectively.

Quality leaders use positivity to motivate their team to achieve the team’s goals, do their best and exceed expectations. To be an effective leader, one should exhibit positivity during difficult situations such as overcoming obstacles or delivering constructive criticism.

A leader will encounter risks, but they must know when to embrace a challenge and when to take a safe approach.  The leader should become a master at navigating risks, assess situations and compare pros and cons and make decisions confidently.

Our new government leader will be charged with driving significant change. He will also need a strong sense of stability. Taking a steady, reliable approach would allow him to keep his team on track.

And we come now to team building. He will build a very dedicated team to do the work of government. I personally, have heard team members pledging to work with an experienced leader, and to give him their full support. And with that attitude, the government will achieve seemingly impossible tasks.

The leader himself will encourage teamwork and promote team building activities within his team.

Now these behaviours are bound to redound to good governance which I clearly articulated in a previous article.

It is widely expected that the government will encourage people participation by men, women and youth. The most vulnerable who also has a voice will be heard.

The new government will develop a framework which will allow all to follow the rule of law, which is essential to good governance.

The team will be transparent, meaning that decisions taken, and their enforcement done in a manner that follows rules and regulations.

We delighted to know that the government will ensure that all members of the community will feel included in the mainstream of governmental activities.

Often, I have heard from the new prime Minister of his fervent desire to distribute the resources of the country equitably and to allow the poor, needy, oppressed, street and homeless people to have a stake in “Helen”.

In conclusion, I must admit that I have spoken to the new Prime Minister, and I always listen to what he has to say. And I know he has a passion, a very strong desire to lead his people from social, economic and educational bondage to a promise land flowing with milk and honey.

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