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Chronicles of a new generation

ARINTHIA S. KOMOLAFE

Published: Oct 08, 2013

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The time has come and the hour is now when the nation stands at the door of opportunity.  The moment when we the people of this nation take an introspective look at where we are and where we have come from.

As the winds of change blow in a new dispensation, the present time is reminiscent of an era that commenced more than half a century ago and culminated with the birth of a nation 40 years ago.  The curtains were drawn on a sizzling chapter and the stage is set for a new episode in our history as commemorated by the 40th anniversary of our nation’s independence on July 10, 1973 this year.

A new era or the status quo?

It is the belief of many that our 40th independence anniversary is symbolic of a changing of the guard and the ushering in of a new era in which a new generation would emerge in preparation for the passing of the baton to move the nation to the next level of greatness.  However, as we look across the political, social and economic landscape of The Bahamas, we must ask ourselves whether the aspiring leaders of the new generation have their fingers on the pulse of the Bahamian people and whether they care about them?

Additionally, are the philosophies of today’s emerging leaders consistent with meeting and addressing the needs of the people and constituents that they provide leadership to?  The question as to whether our leaders are motivated by their own selfish interests and personal agenda as opposed to being driven by deep-rooted convictions is a valid one at this juncture.  Will it be the same script with a different cast?

The statesmen and stateswomen

As we pay attention to the evolving political landscape of our nation and as we reflect upon today’s political leaders, one must ask the question, where have all the statesmen gone?  A statesman or stateswoman is widely regarded as an individual who has given long years of service by way of political leadership.  Other examples include individuals who are widely respected and possess wisdom that is used in the best interest of the nations to which they belong.  Do we have a shortage of these national treasures or are they disinterested in fulfilling their roles in a nation desperately in need of their insight and contributions?

It can be argued that the vacuum created by insufficient voices of reason and the invaluable guidance of these rare individuals in our commonwealth is partly responsible for the deficient rite of passage for aspiring leaders of the new generation.  The lessons learned from mistakes made and the pain and gains from the road travelled should not be allowed to go to waste lest The Bahamas suffers from the catastrophes of ill-prepared leaders of the future.

New contents in antiquated vessels

The popular biblical quote that one cannot put new wine into old wine skins is ever so true.  In the literal sense, this oft referenced quote emphasizes the reality that to do so would impact the fermentation process of the wine and the gas itself would cause the actual wineskin to burst, putting at risk the lost of both the wine and the wineskin.  When interpreted, the saying simply suggests that you can’t put new ideas into old mindsets.

In the context of Bahamian politics, this quote is very relevant as we embark upon the next 40 years.  We should not tolerate individuals who claim to belong to a new generation of political leaders but continue to practice the politics of old that have hitherto divided us and perpetuated political shenanigans.  This politics of old has driven a wedge between the Bahamian people and has polarized a closely-knit people over the years.  We are currently living in a society that has chosen to politicize every event and every national occurrence to the detriment of future generations.  In spite of the rhetoric, we still witness opposition just for the sake of opposing – an opposition that is often times void of substance, wisdom, knowledge or understanding.  The Bahamian people are the victims of this obsolete mentality and absurd political maneuvers.

Opportunities for all Bahamians

Forty years ago our nation was filled with so much hope and anticipation of a brighter future for the masses; for all Bahamians regardless of race, creed, political affiliation or gender.  The Bahamian Dream has been modified but has not materially changed and successive administrations are charged with promoting this dream for all.  The men and women of yesterday who fought bravely did so with a common goal.  There was no ‘us’ and ‘them’ as they understood the importance of unity in one Bahamas.

Major victories were won by our ancestors for the benefit of the masses not as PLPs or FNMs but as Bahamians.  While many at that time chose to align themselves with the PLP, which promoted the agenda of a Bahamas for all Bahamians, there is no doubt that these individuals were led by their conviction to serve and sacrifice for the common good of all Bahamians.  The provision of equal opportunities for all Bahamians must therefore remain a major part of every government’s agenda.

Service to mankind and country

The zeal to serve our dear nation has often been met with reluctance by women and young people in The Bahamas due to the perceived dirty and sinister nature of our politics.  This concern has been fueled by individuals of a lesser and shallow mindset who perpetuate a culture of fear of victimization and slander.  However, the message must be clear that it is both an honor and a privilege for one to serve one’s country and people, even if it calls for sacrifice and the risk of being targeted.

It is this burning desire to serve that makes it possible for a young girl who spent her formative years in the historic community of Bains and Grants Town to aspire to higher heights economic challenges.

The same desire motivates a young man who grew up in the gun and drug territories of the inner city to aspire to become a police or defense officer to protect and serve his people, to restore and preserve his community; certainly these decisions are not motivated by political affiliation.  Political leaders and aspiring political leaders need to understand that there is no thought of red or yellow when people seek to serve their country.  When individuals lose their loved ones to gang violence, the community does not grieve along party lines and they do not think about the PLP, FNM or DNA in those moments; rather they look to their communities for comfort and their neighbors’ shoulders to cry on.

A final word for the wise

There is a truth that today’s existing and aspiring politicians must know and understand – we are all God’s children; human beings first and all things follow thereafter.  Moreover, when opportunity knocks and as time and chance happens to all, such opportunities must be seized with humility and honor.  For this is the true spirit and essence of the Bahamian Dream – a dream where opportunity is open to all and not a few based on social class, age or gender.

In the final analysis, we must stand tall and work hard to change our politics.  For the generations of tomorrow are seeking statesmen over and above politicians.  Politicians spew rhetoric to appease their constituents while statesmen fight for the rights of the common man and provide solutions to the myriad problems that face them, despite their political affiliation.

Politicians speak for political expediency much at the expense of others’ character, integrity and human worth.  Statesmen look beyond the next general election focusing on the next generation.  Indeed, despite our challenges, this writer is certain that in the words of the Bible, the glory of our latter house shall be greater than that of the former.  This is a new day, a new era, a new generation of leadership; one that will not preserve a status quo to the detriment of our Bahamaland.

• Comments on this article can be directed at a.s.komolafe510@gmail.com.


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