Minister of Industry, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss has made a strong appeal to Caribbean business and political leaders to talk less, act more and listen to the people they serve.
Inniss chose his delivery of the feature address to the opening session of the Caribbean Association of Administrative Professionals Council meeting Sunday night to light a fire under the region’s top bosses.
Speaking at the Barbados Water Authority headquarters, the minister was at pains to stress that his criticism was neither political nor partisan.
Yet he made reference to the just concluded summit of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders, suggesting that the integration movement had been stagnant due to a lack of visionary leadership.
“I’m not going to ask anybody what you thought was the outcome of the CARICOM Heads meeting. It may vary from country to country, entity to entity. [However], there are too many leaders in this region who are prepared to maintain the status quo, to tell you all the reasons why we are doing things the way we have been doing it for the last 50 years, but not prepared to tell you where they will take the organisation towards the next 50 years,” Inniss said.
He made it clear that he favoured transformational leaders “both in the public and private sector, those who have vision, those who understand the challenges and dynamics of today’s world and the history”, and were prepared to share the vision for their businesses or countries.
“Transformational leaders need to listen to their customers and their constituents. I say constituents in the very broad sense of the term, because people start to think you are being partisan or political.”
Inniss said regional leaders needed to develop a vision and an action plan in collaboration with the people.
“When we do not engage in a constant and constructive manner, then uncertainty steps in and eventually seismic changes are forced upon organizations, much to the shock of all, or some of the present leaders in the region,” he warned.
The minister also called on regional leaders to create opportunities for the youth, open avenues for the private sector “to be the best in the world”, and ensure the region is respected internationally.