Essay competition asks students to explore leadership

| 27/01/2011

(CNS): The University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) is inviting high school and tertiary level students to write an essay on the issues of leadership, governance and empowerment. The competition will be part of UCCI’s International Conference on Leadership, Governance and Empowerment in the Caribbean slated for March 17 and 18. Students will benefit by improving their writing skills, winning great prizes and bringing accolades to their schools. Essays have a limit of one thousand to 1,500 words and will be marked out of a total of 25 points for content, organization and use of language/expression. All participants are expected to supplement their essays with relevant authoritative sources.

The MLA referencing style should be used and the essay must be the original work of the writer. Essays are to be submitted no later than Monday, 28 February, and students are urged to participate.

The first and second prize winners for both categories will be recognized on Thursday, 17 March, the conference’s first day, which features a cocktail reception, various exhibits and the keynote address by Sir Shridath Ramphal, leading Caribbean statesman and former secretary-general of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Further details on the essay competition have been posted on the UCCI Conference website at Interested persons can contact Erica Gordon by telephone at 623-0512 or email Another contact, Stephanie Fullerton-Cooper can be reached at 623-0532 or

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  1. Wow – this is the most interesting & relevant of topics, yet there’s no interest in terms of comments so far… which ony reflects our larger society’s indifference or misunderstanding of leadership, I guess.

    I’d luv to see these essays, and hope they are pulished.

    In the meanwhile,I’d suggest that this is the MOST pressing topic for our country & government.

    It’s also very interesting culturally.

    See, we have operated in a ‘village chief’ leadership styledfor many decades, and coming into the modern era, this naturally evolved into the paternal / maternal style of government. That’s why out top leaders are seen as the benevolant benefactors,stepping in to aid farmers with yam crop thefts, those with light bill and other minor needs.

    Not that all these needs are not important, but these are often examples of the paternalistic style of leadership.

    If we’d done what was really necessary over the past decades we would be the second Japan or Germany — as virtually all our people were leaders in the ‘pioneer’ era of the pre 1970s, but their role was given up to a joint cause of formalization of political process, and the missionaries’ religious influence which led to our attitude of being sheep (instead of being shepherds).

    My advice to all – especially our leaders- is that the real purpose of leadership is to produce leaders!

    Anyway – I hope this comment raises interest. If I have not done suffiiently, I offer 2 examples to support my comments:

    First (from a web article on leadership) states:
    "I’ve known many leaders that are extremely protective of their staff. The loyal follower just goes off and executes on the direction provided and their attachment grows deeper to that leader. The downside of paternal leadership is that the staff member doesn’t have the opportunity to learn how to solve problems themselves and to reach out to peers for guidance. Paternal leaders will also “save” previous employees who are experiencing performance challenges in other organizations. This “safety net” behavior ensures that the individual doesn’t grow from the experience and they often stop growing with the company and industry."

    The second example is an excerpt from Miami Herald of Tuesday, 01.25.11: (See Duvalier’s own quote)

    For Haiti, no payback after Duvalier

    Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier took the proverbial “blank check” to heart.

    As “president for life,” he and his then-wife had blank state treasury checkbooks at their disposal. When the couple wanted a little extra for jewels or cash, they’d fill in the account number and convert flour, lottery or electricity revenue from one of the world’s poorest nations into overseas cash, according to affidavits filed in French courts.

    Lawyers estimated that Haiti’s former dictator embezzled at least a half-billion dollars through an elaborate scheme of false companies, phony charities and transfers in the name of friends and family. They spent it on a Ferrari, yachts, jewelry and Miami condos.

    The portly former president, now 59, returned to Haiti unexpectedly last week and once again finds himself accused of massive theft. The former teen tyrant spent the past three decades dodging at least a dozen lawsuits in three countries.

    He now finds himself in a hotel in the hills above the capital under police surveillance as Haitian prosecutors dust off decades-old ledgers and copies of canceled checks in a quest to get justice.

    Prosecutors presented corruption charges last week. A Haitian judge will decide whether the case can go to trial or if the statute of limitations has run out.

    “In our country,” Duvalier told Le Figaro, “we always had a dynastic, paternal, conception of power. Social, medical and educational expenses were not all budgeted. It was to the Duvaliers that people directly addressed themselves, and we responded to their needs. Each week we distributed thousands of envelopes. . . . In fact, 90 percent of social expenditures were financed by us.”

    Attorneys involved in the paper chase say the Haitian government compiled convincing stacks of evidence, which may have been lost in last year’s earthquake. There was an apartment in Miami and a yacht in the name of his former personal secretary. Checks made out to cash were endorsed by the president himself.

    Sometimes money went straight from state accounts to New York jewelry stores. One such transaction, on Dec. 26, 1980, was for $414,324, according to a 1988 Miami Herald news account.

    The state lottery, the electric company, the telecommunications office, National Bank of Credit and the Tobacco Directorate — which controls prices of consumer goods — were secretly issuing checks for the first family and friends.

    “During a recent and short period, the Duvaliers rerouted a sum of almost $47.4 million,” St. Fleur wrote. `

    Lawyers documented $120 million in siphoned funds — just in Duvalier’s name.

    “These actions by the Duvaliers and their accomplices are unique in the annals of the Third World,” St. Fleur wrote. “That pillaging, in giant proportions, has madethe people of Haiti one of the poorest in the planet.”