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Quality of Leadership – an OpEd by Dwayne Robinson, approved candidate for Constituency 30, Southampton East Central

By January 11, 2022January 12th, 2022No Comments

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

The task of navigating a global pandemic is very stressful and often overwhelming. No rational person could consider it an easy feat. Without a doubt, our leaders need vacation, including Premier David Burt. But the issue is not that vacations were taken but that the Progressive Labour Party Government has has produced a track record of poor transparency and accountability.

Who else can be held accountable for this massive blunder of our public schools reopening? This is where transparency is key. With a Cabinet of Acting Ministers, and a poor communication strategy, parents and students in the Bermuda Public School System again were left shrouded in uncertainty until the very last minute, only to be given one side of the story from the recently resigned Dr. Weldon.

In a high-performance organisation, the first steps taken would be to trouble shoot the error, hold someone accountable, engage in disciplinary actions for those at fault, and then contact your superiors/shareholders to reassure them. In this scenario the shareholders are us, Bermuda, and we are owed a thorough explanation. Along with reassurance on measures taken to ensure this does not happen again.

Despite pressure from the media and members of the public, the Government remains relatively tight-lipped regarding who should be held accountable for the mess with the schools, plans to appease the public for the blunder, and steps that will be taken to assure it does not happen again.

This has become a common practice for this Government: to simply never take accountability for its inadequacies.
Even with an overwhelming majority in the House, we are frequently treated to hollow articles and speeches blaming the Opposition for all the woes of the island. This is understandable as PLP was rewarded for its poor record of governance with a 30-seat majority in the last election. Will this Government surprise me and step up to the plate and take accountability for this major mistake?

In my opinion, a leader is truly measured by how well their team or organization functions while they are away or indisposed. An effective leader sets a clear agenda and process for how their organization should run.

They do not need to be the smartest in the room, but they require the vision and charisma to get the best out of their colleagues. If this school re-opening debacle has taught us anything, is that the Premier did not ensure his Cabinet was prepared for his absence. On top of that, the Deputy Premier who has the sole purpose of stepping into the leadership role when the Premier is unavailable, was also indisposed. This is a failure of leadership and needs to be publicly addressed by the Premier in greater depth. Accountability cannot be shrugged off.

The Opposition awaits a detailed public address, measures for improvement, and reassurance that the Premier and his cabinet can move Bermuda beyond the pandemic.