What makes a leader?

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s characterisation of his political rivals as people of modest accomplishments is getting pushed back from the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP).
His initial criticisms came in the wake of the UPP’s unveiling of its slate of 16 candidates to contest the next general elections which are constitutionally due in 2019.
Browne seized the opportunity again during debate on a bill to create the legal framework for a full-fledged campus of the University of the West Indies on Thursday.
The PM prefaced his broadside by noting that Antigua and Barbuda was part of a globalised world and this should be reflected in the people’s thinking.
“We’re no longer living in the 1970s and 80s so that we want to boast a secondary education, and I’m not trying to hit anybody’s education. At the end of the day, as they say, they have individuals who are lettered who are some of the most idiotic people you can find, but that is not an excuse not to be lettered.”
Continuing, he said there were people of modest education who were very smart, but those were rare, and he singled out Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Sr. as one such individual. According to Browne, a number of individuals who had failed to grasp the opportunities to further themselves were now mistakenly comparing themselves to Sir Vere.
“The point I’m making here is that if you cannot develop yourself then how are you going to help others, how are you going to develop others, how are you going to represent others? We have to lift the bar. 
“This idea that people believe that they don’t have to achieve anything and that they can become representatives of the people, I’m saying that is backward looking,” the PM declared while stating that his roots were in the working class. Browne has an MBA in Finance.
He questioned the notion of anyone who failed to achieve anything significant, education-wise or economically for themselves, being an able champion of the cause of others. “What gives him or her the right to think that he is superior to others when he has nothing to show, no achievement? But that is when you’re building a society of mediocrity in which these people think that for some reason they have some significant status.”
The PM did not spare his party supporters either, saying casting a vote was not enough to ensure they benefitted.
“There are many of them who believe that all they have to do is cast a vote for you and automatically it’s a meal ticket. Those days are done, they’re finished. We value your vote, we’ll do all we can to empower you but if you do not have the skills then our hands are tied as to how far you can go.”
 (More in today’s Daily Observer)

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