Tuesday 4th March, 2008


Pastor Clive Dottin

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A sense of urgency

“When the urgency rate is not pumped up enough, the transformation process cannot succeed, and the long-term future of the organisation is put in jeopardy,” says retired professor of Harvard Business School, John Kotter.

Kotter is very precise in his book, Leading Change. There are certain factors that he identifies as compulsory and include the need for a powerful guiding coalition and a vision, which he defines as a picture of the future which is relatively easy to communicate and appeals to customers, stockholders and employees.

We are talking about developing partnerships in the Caricom region and we use words such as networking and co-operation. There are strong recommendations for uniting stockholders. Let us look at a few examples:

n Building bridges between the community and the Police Service.

n Formation of alliances between Government and business groups.

n Establishing linkages between churches, NGOs and the State.

Kotter has indicated that there must be a minimum level of trust and communication. We do not have to be rocket scientists to conclude that the deeper the crises, the demand for trust and communication will increase.

As we talk about enhancing food security, decreasing the food import bill, tackling primary and secondary causes in relation to the crime issue, it is very important that we see the big picture. Why?

Well let us examine the nagging issue of international terrorism and the drug trade. This is a “borderless” headache and requires international co-operation.

Kotter and all other change promoters must be painfully aware that some leaders resist change as we resist leprosy and Aids. Some individuals just hate change. One classic example in the international political front is the dialogue between the Republicans and Democrats on the proposal by Barack Obama to sit down and talk with the “enemy” without too many preconditions.

What traditional leaders must realise is that people are waiting to exhale, that they are tired of the enemy label, that they wish to try some new initiatives. Of course, Obama’s critics accuse him of failing to recognise the difference between hope and blind optimism.

But hope is therapeutic, particularly when it is underpinned by sound analysis and the manifestation of a genuine commitment to achieve the promised change. We must admit that a number of things hoped for require an enormous amount of courage.

Certainly the international Mafia is not waiting on us to develop new initiatives, bold partnerships, exciting communication networks and an efficient underground judiciary that is brutal in its “swift justice” operations.

Recently, global attention was focused on the Ndrangheta: the Mafia in the southern Italian region of Calabria. The Italian anti-Mafia committee’s annual report identified the key role the Netherlands is playing:

n It functions as a major transshipment point for cocaine shipped from Colombia to Italy.

n It is a huge money laundering machine for Italy, Germany and Belgium.

n It is a sanctuary for fugitives.

Of course, the Netherlands can be described as one of the homes of “liberal, legalising” behaviour and can be viewed as Europe’s epicentre for permissive lifestyles.

But think for a moment of this narcotic axis and the long-term impact on the Caribbean and Latin American territories. We must be painfully aware of the operations of Colombians in areas such as T&T, Guyana, the Eastern Caribbean and Jamaica.

When you look at the South American, Caribbean and European narcotic alliance, it must cause you to tremble. In 2007, there was a feud between the Nirta-Strangio family of San Luca and other Mafia clans. This led to an attack in Duisburg, Germany and six people lost their lives.

Of course, we must be aware of the symbiotic relationship between the drug trade, gun trade, gambling trade, money laundering business and the phenomenon of crime and violence. This includes the horrific practices of murder and kidnapping.

The underworld in Latin America, Europe, North America, the Middle East and the Far East understands the need for dynamic leadership, creating a sense of extraordinary urgency and the search for new routes and initiatives.

In the Caricom region, cluster kill-ings by gangs of misguided and psychotic youth, with their schizo-phrenic monsters, are creating an unprecedented level of fear and paralysis.

It is important to note the analysis of Justice Anthony Carmona as he instructed the jury to deliver a not guilty verdict against the accused in a murder trial. As the Guardian editorial noted, one of the witnesses in the 2005 high noon murder was slaughtered in December 2007 and the lone surviving witness indicated that he was “intimidated and sent word that he was no longer willing to testify.”

Justice Carmona did not only express his disappointment but went on to display huge courage. He accused political officials of sustaining and defending the network of criminality in which the URP operates.

In dealing with the URP and its addiction for Mafia-style mobsters, he said: “Time and time again, a lot of criminal activity is taking place in the bowels of the URP… That is the stark reality and what is further stark is that a generation of young men is dying.”

Where are we going if a generation of young men is dying? And if the sad truth be told, we have a section of this generation who is being well trained to kill and kill and kill.

While the cable networks focus on sporting entertainment stars such as Roger Clemens in baseball and Heath Ledger, 28, who it is alleged died from an accidental overdose, we have to arrest the mob rule that is sabotaging several communities in the Caribbean.

Mass slaughter is hunting and haunting us in west Kingston, Jamaica, Laventille and Diego Martin, Trinidad, Lusignan and Bartica in Guyana. Now you may say some areas do not have “bunch” killings on a daily basis but drop by drop, the buckets are being filled with blood.

Another worrying trend is the killing of police officers and what is even more horrific is that some police organisations have Judases in their ranks who participate in activities that lead to the demise of their colleagues. Some of them even attend the funerals and shed crocodile tears.

We have no need to establish a sense of extraordinary urgency; we have allowed that state of affairs to paralyse the region. As a result, we have to cope with another major brain drain. And there continues to be a clarion call for the legalising of the immoral and they are following current managerial, networking trends. The latest is the CVC initiative.

The CVC is the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Organisation designed to protect the rights of groups such as homosexuals, transexuals and prostitutes. The CVC believes that a review of laws related to the sea trade would greatly reduce incidents of HIV infection and exploitation. This meeting attracted workers from Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname and T&T. Wow!

Evil forces in the fields of drugs, prostitution, pornography and homosexuality unite in a powerful manner, while the forces of righteousness remain divided and paralysed. The time to unite is here and there must be a sense of urgency and a vision to respond to the urgency.

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