20 Jun 2008

Imagination and Vision 20/20

I read this morning, an article in the Guardian newspaper by Dr Bhoe Tewarie:

This article begins a series by Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, who is Pro vice chancellor for planning and development at the University of the West Indies. The theme of the series is Thinking Things Through and the articles will focus on issues related to culture, society, business, politics, governance and development.

I'd like to extract some statements he made, highlighting them for contemplation.

The imagination is something very special. That is where the mind creates, that is where mental images can be formed or designed. That is where a vision can be crafted as a virtual reality so that envisioned by the imagination it can be given form on paper, or described and captured in words or modelled on a computer so that it becomes a guide, a prototype of the reality we wish to create or construct.

That is why the thinking behind the approach to development being taken in T&T is questionable.

It is also difficult to feel inspired by the term "developed country status." What is a developed country if not people with developed minds who can envision things and make them, do them to create reality? And if that is not what a developed country is about then why bother?

Development requires unleashing of the entrepreneurial spirit, harnessing of leadership capacity, deployment of managerial talent, and nurturing of latent talent. Where is the evidence of that?

If a person wants to develop himself/herself he must begin by reflecting on his/her condition, determine what his preferred condition might be if he is dissatisfied with the current one and then fashion a strategy to get there by action, by effort, by summoning the will and by supporting the journey to the desired destination with the required resources.

If the objective is to develop a country, then the leaders of that country must create the conditions for individuals to develop themselves, families to pursue their notion of happiness and progress, communities to come together to do projects of upliftment, and the society as a whole to come together to take responsibility for a large undertaking that makes sense not only for today but for tomorrow.

Rallying behind the Soca Warriors or the West Indies cricket team is a temporary substitute and only a substitute for a grand undertaking which can bind us together. Substance is missing in our national life and in our regional aspirations, and so we grasp at any- thing that can make us feel good.

The unimaginative and the brain dead may be among us but these are by no means in the majority. The future we create will be determined by what we think and do now.

In other words, despite much touting and self-praise, the PNM lacks the imagination, vision and leadership to lead us to developed status; indeed, they clearly do not know what developed status is. We get plasters over the sores, while the rot underneath continues to eat away at the body. Vision 20/20, ent?