Multi-ethnic leadership and good governance

Multi-ethnic leadership and good governance

Dear Editor,
A number of concerned citizens have written on the state of affairs in the country, and have made observations on a number of interrelated issues, such as the need for inclusionary governance, the reduction in corruption, and improving governance, to name a few.
The engagement of the populace, and the press freedom being preserved are very encouraging. The long-term commitment, independent of political affiliation, of many of our fellow Guyanese in the unselfish service of our country is to be applauded, and it would be a disservice to both them and our country to not acknowledge and appreciate their willingness to contribute to the building of our young nation.

Guyana does have a limited pool of talent available for the numerous critical tasks ahead. However, the level of integrity and honesty with which we build our Government and nation is more important than the speed with which we accomplish our objectives. The underlying moral fabric upon which our society is built must take precedence over expediency, in order to ensure the gains made are lasting over the centuries, and can be supported & further augmented by generations to come. Setting the example today of what we hope to have continued and achieved in the future is indispensable, and will attract like minds, thus re-enforcing the underlying culture of the society we hope to establish.

As the saying goes, “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”, which also goes for the multi-ethnic dimension of our society. Investment in national institutions which provide non-discriminatory access to all ethnicities, religions and genders within our society helps lay the foundation for the development of all Guyanese. This is what institutions such as the University of Guyana have been accomplishing over the years, and our University’s mission continues to be “To discover, generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge of the highest standard for the service of the community, the nation, and of all mankind within an atmosphere of academic freedom that allows for free and critical enquiry”.

The issue, then, becomes how to ensure that those helping to build our national community reflect those within the community. Ability & merit must be the key standard used for ensuring that we provide access to leadership opportunities for our best and brightest, while also retaining top talent.
If this is done, and its management is efficacious, without bias, then each subsequent level of our socioeconomic structure will continue to be strengthened in both its moral capacity and competence.
The disconnect that we have witnessed over the decades has been the departure from sound management practices in favour of expediency and nepotism, which in many cases can be linked to political affiliation.
This has created a gap between the needs of our national institutions and the current talent in place. By implementing a strong performance management system that holds each level accountable for not only their results, but also for how they accomplish those results, our institutions will begin to cleanse and replenish the talent pool with the most capable individuals available.

Thanks to the University of Guyana and our larger unbiased education system, that talent pool will be multi-ethnic. The commitment to establish such effective national institutions must be important to nonpolitically appointed leadership, and it must also be of utmost importance to our political leaders; the latter being the more complex of the two to accomplish. For this and several other reasons not mentioned, we must achieve increased cooperation in Parliament.

Best regards,
Jamil Changlee

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