Prominent businessman Howard Mitchell has called for Jamaica to be led by someone with a vision of integrity, confidence and purpose.
Mitchell, a former president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), made the bold statement while responding to questions on leadership during Campion College’s annual Archbishop Samuel Carter Lecture on Thursday. The lecture focused on ‘Leadership issues in present-day Jamaica’ with Mitchell as the keynote speaker.
When asked about the type of leader Jamaica presently needs, he declared:
The type of leader that we need at this point in time is a leader that has the sufficient strength of conviction to accept that his or her own life could be wasted in pursuing the vision that they (the people) have, that all of his or her efforts must go into pursuing this vision, and (someone) who is rooted in the ambition of our people, the understanding of our particular culture, and the ability to draw everybody around those understandings and that vision.
The former PSOJ president said he, personally, “resist(s) the idea of a charismatic leader”.
He elaborated, “I believe in functional teams, and I believe that leadership can be shared and still held”.
Mitchell went on to express concern that the current Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Administration has yet to fulfil many of its past commitments.
“The (revised) building code needs to be passed,” Mitchell demanded.
“(The) undeclared sources of wealth orders, which were committed to three or four years ago, Cabinet don’t approve them yet! There is not a clear intent to do it, and it makes me very suspicious,” he asserted.
On that score, Mitchell emphasised that citizens must demand accountability from their Government.
“We need a leader with a vision of integrity, confidence and a purpose, and we, as followers, must require the performance of what is promised and what we have asked for,” he indicated.
The businessman also cited former prime ministers Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding as examples of leaders who achieved much during their tenures.
“Edward Seaga had the clearest vision of the institutional structure of our society, and he did the most to implement those institutions that are necessary,” Mitchell claimed.
Continuing, he said: “Bruce Golding, in four years, got more reform legislation (passed) than any other prime minister I am aware of.”
He also highlighted the legislative reforms under Mark Golding’s tenure as justice minister.
“Therefore, it (leadership) must be (a) focused intent on a clear understanding of what you want to do, not how long you want to stay in power,” said Mitchell.