Political Leadership – How It Is Viewed


Information Minister Burchell Whiteman has said there is need for a change in the way political leadership is viewed. The Minister who was speaking at a joint forum on Values and Attitudes and the Access to Information Act at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts recently (April 22), urged the students to be more analytical in their view of political leadership and instead look at benefits derived from the engagement of persons in political action.
“We must not jump to conclusions or be superficial in our assessment of those who we call politicians, political action has been responsible for many of the benefits that we enjoy today such as, for example, access to education and protection of the vulnerable. It was political action led by people with political orientation that brought us into independence,” Minister Whiteman pointed out.
He told the students that joining in the chorus of negativism and seeking to “put down everything linked with politics and government” was a “guarantee of further failure in the society.”
At the same time, he noted that it was also necessary that ‘political actors’ be held accountable for changing their behaviours to be more effective and give better quality leadership. In all this, Minister Whiteman said respect and proper values came to the fore and urged that persons display better attitudes towards each other.
He encouraged the students to educate themselves on the Access to Information Act, noting that an informed adult population could help in the development of a more wholesome society.
Meanwhile, Convenor of the National Steering Committee on Values and Attitudes, Reverend Marjorie Lewis noted that the campaign’s focus was on ‘respect’ as it was apparent that a perceived lack of this value leads to much conflict. She encouraged the students to use their talents as artists to build Jamaica, “respect for self, country, nature and others.”
Reverend Dr. Maake Masango from the University of Pretoria, South Africa urged the students to use the freedom they had to express themselves wisely and aid in the creation of change. “You live in a free country use this freedom that you have beautifully.
When time come for you to vote, vote, if you don’t vote stop complaining about politicians who are miserable for you didn’t vote,” he told them adding that by voting it was possible to create change desired.” Furthermore, he noted, creative works (drama, music), which parodied the actions displayed by politicians, was also one way of causing them to change negative attitudes.

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