Former Bahamas Finance Minister Zhivargo Laing has extolled the virtues of good leadership, saying that they count most when people come together to achieve noble ends.
“If you are not bringing people together to work together to achieve noble ends, you are merely occupying a position, because you are not doing leadership,” Laing, also an author, economist and motivational speaker, told a packed banquet hall, at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Miami, in addressing “Caribbean movers and shakers” at the 2019 Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) Gala Leadership Awards.
“If times are good and leadership is strong, success is still not guaranteed,” added Laing, who is also a trade negotiator for The Bahamas. “Imagine then, if times are bad and leadership is poor, failure is almost inevitable.”
According to the New Jersey-based CMEx, Laing cautioned that leadership has its limitations.
“There is a mistake that people make far too often, when they think of this subject of leadership,” Laing said. “There are people who believe that, if you achieve, you succeed at leadership; and that’s not true.”
In illustrating his point, he pointed to Hurricane Dorian, which devastated parts of The Bahamas archipelago and how the essence of leadership was used for “the unifying of people first in turning them to each other. and then turning them together towards some noble end.”
As for the kind of responses needed to cope with storms in the wider Caribbean, Laing said it called for good leadership, “which turned people toward each other rather than on each other.
“This is what it will take in The Bahamas, Dominica, Puerto Rico and all the places of our world, when natural and unnatural forces have caused devastation,” he said.
“It will take leadership to rise up and say to you and say to me, for us to say to each other, you are my brother, you are my sister; and, together, I want to work with you to get some things done,” he added.
Laing, according to CMEx, urged attendees to consider “how much better off (the world) would be if the spirit that governs this room tonight was the spirit that governed every room.”
CMEx, which is headed by Barbadian journalist Bevan Springer, said its honorees included “exceptional individuals who have made contributions to the Caribbean region and beyond.”
They comprised: Chef José Andrés & World Central Kitchen; Joseph Boschulte, commissioner, US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; Frank Comito, chief executive officer and director general, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; Marlon Hill, business lawyer and civic mobilizer; Christine Kennedy, network planning & global partnership development, Delta Air Lines; and Janet Silvera, journalist and president, Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The others were: Muriel Wiltord, director of The Americas, Martinique Promotion Bureau; Neki Mohan, anchor/reporter, WPLG Miami; Andy Ingraham, president and chief executive officer, NABHOOD; Richard Garafola, senior manager – Workplace Solutions, Royal Caribbean Cruises; and Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, clinical director and chief cardiac surgeon, Health City Cayman Islands.
Springer said CMEx partnered with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) and The Errol and Nita Barrow Educational Trust to raise funds for educational causes, including the support of Bahamian scholars impacted by the Category 5 storm, which devastated The Abacos and Grand Bahama.
The 2019 Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) Leadership Awards featured “the musical genius” of Trinidadian calypsonian and storyteller Lord Relator, as well as a live auction of numerous Caribbean vacation getaways, Springer said.
“CMEx encourages the media, government, travel and tourism industry professionals, governments and communities to find ways to ensure that the people and the environment of the Caribbean benefit from tourism,” Springer said.
“The nonprofit organization seeks to provide educational and humanitarian assistance to the communities it serves,” he added.