to be or not to be… a Politician

For years I’ve had a firm point of view regarding businessmen being active politicians. If you’d asked me, I would’ve said that’s not an ethical combination, because of the conflict of interest that may arise. As a very active citizen I believed that if you want to create positive change, the best way is to stay away from politics, especially those parties who have very egocentric leaders. Unfortunately most of the political leaders are like that; afraid to share leadership, only giving opportunities to loyalists despite their qualities and  tolerating criticism.
Another reason why I always thought business leaders should not be politicians is because of the corruption you often see and hear of and the bad examples of business leaders who use their political power for their own (personal) gain.

My view changed, however, after an 4 hour discussion with a JCI member from Pakistan, while at the 2007 JCI Worldcongress in Turkey.  Anwar Kashif Mumtaz is a tax consultant from Karachi and a 1992 JCI International Vice President. Anwar totally changed the way I looked at politics that way. Not immediately at that same moment, but in the months after that, after I started to look at politics from the view he suggested.
Anwar made me realize that if you really want to be able to create change, you should put yourself into the position where you can really have the impact. Looking from aside and screaming from the top of your longue may get you some attention, but the chance that you really have some impact is very small. To create the positive change we want in our community we need politicians who know how to get things done and who live a live of an active citizen. The last thing we need is people looking at issues from behind a desk and trying to find a solution for the problem of finding a solution without having to get out from their chair (pretty confusing, isn’t it……just read this sentence again :)
So if you really want things to change, you should be part of it, and that goes for political change as well. Ofcourse this is not as easy as it sounds, especially with the kind of political leaders we have nowadays. Unethical behaviour seems to be  the most normal thing for a lot of our political leaders, mostly grey, old men who think that we are still living in the sixties or seventies.

Luckily some political parties are starting to change. More young men and women are getting the chance to show what they are made of, and a lot of us hope that these men and women who will represent us are really made of the best “material”.

And then it comes, the big question that I have to answer by Tuesday, April 6th.
A few days ago I got an email from one of the founders from a small, very progressive political party who aims at giving as much as possible young men and women the opportunity to  play an important role in the development of our country. I knew of the existence of this party, and also read a lot about one of the founders, who is an exemplary and succesful entrepreneur. I like their way of thinking and the plans  (and vision) they have for our country. But I’ve never considered joining them yet, just as I’ve never seriously considered joining any other political party (although some people think otherwise about me).
Anyway I got this email from one of the founders who asked me if I would like to join them and be one of their candidates for the upcoming National Elections of the Parliament. To be very honest, I was very surprised, and the next day I replied that I wasn’t sure if I was interested in becoming a candidate, but I would certainly like a meeting to discuss how they decided to ask me; someone with no political background whatsoever. So I had that meeting, and heard what they had to say.
Interesting, interesting, interesting.

I am now seriously considering to join this party, and will be spending some time reading through the various documents produced by  this party. By tomorrow I am expected to let them know what my decision will be regarding representing the party as candidate for the parliament or not. So the big question is “should I or should I not……….”

Launching my answer 2morrow evening, but before I do, It would be nice to get your feedback on this…

Back home, after a FUNtastic Experience

This weekend has proved to be a very rewarding weekend in Antigua. I’ve enjoyed my stay there, in the beautiful mansion of JCI Antigua Past President Senator Harry. As always I’ve enjoyed the Caribbean hospitality, fellowship, and the limin’.

Glad to have made some new friends, who I hope to be meeting in future events, and ofcourse excited to meet my old friends from the beautiful island Antigua.

I have a good feeling about both the seminars I did (Managing Creativity on Friday and JCI Presenter on Saturday).

I’ve had a great assistant trainer in Past NOM President Faye Edwards and excellent logistic assistance from my very good ‘n lovely Antiguan friends Alicia and Delacy.

Ofcourse I can’t forget to mention the sightseeing tour that I got from Alicia,  Delacy and Brenda. That was very very nice!

Thank you JCI Antigua, Delacy, Alicia, Brenda, Senator Harry and all other members….I really enjoyed it, thanks to you all.

Puerto Rico 2009

Puerto Rico 2009…..this year’s conference of the America’s has been quite exciting experience, a very good Puerto Rican experience….. Together with JCI Unify member Rajiv Hieralal I arrived in Puerto Rico on May 1st, 5 days before the start of the Conference. We had a whole weekend in front of us and immediatly after unpacking our luggage (11.00 pm) we headed into the city to explore what’s hot…:) On saturday we continued our discovery tour ending the day (night) at one of  “the places to be” in la calle Fortaleza in Viejo San Juan. Together with our friend from Peru we had a very good time, partying Puerto Rican style till early in the morning….a night full of diversity, from Puerto Rican toClub Goddess in Puerto RicoVenezuelan, even to Hungarian……we ended the night at club Goddess, having a good time. Sunday I went out with Omar and Sonia from Peru, while Rajiv headed to the beach with Carlos from Venezuela and some other friends from all over Latin America.

So the weekend gave me a fresh start, full of energy for the week long of “work” I had in front of me. I had a very busy schedule, with JCI Presenter on Monday, JCI Trainer on Tuesday and Wednesday, JCI Presenter on Thursday and Managing Creativity on Friday.

As much as it seems, the fun I had during this training compensated at all for the long hours I made, together with Hernando Gomez en Arrey Obenson. As usual the seminars ended with  making a lot of new friends, and for sure some new opportunities for international training projects… I am already looking forward to Tuniz in November and ofcourse..Rosario in 2010. jajajaja 🙂

Conducting training at the JCI World Congress in New Delhi, India

From November 2nd to November 10th I was in New Delhi, to attend the 2008 JCI World Congress. I’ve been looking forward to this congress, because this would provide me the opportunity to gain the much needed training hours towards my ITF (International Training Fellow) certification. Ever since I reached my IG level in November 2007, I’ve conducted training in Panama and Jamaica and I needed 6 more international hours to reach my ITF, hours that I would be getting by conducting training at the World Congress.

For the world congress I was scheduled as Head Trainer for JCI Presenter, Assistant trainer for JCI Admin and one of my own courses, Me Inc!

I conducted the JCI Presenter course together with Kamal Dabawala, from India. Kamal proved to be a very excellent and talented trainer and I truly enjoyed training with him. This has been my third JCI Presenter as head trainer and I was truly impressed by Kamal’s resourcefulness.
For JCI Admin I was one of the assistant trainers, together with Jean-Phillipe Valentin from Martinique and Adetola Sogbesan from Nigeria. Our head trainer was Nicole van Hooy, from the Netherlands. This training was completely new to me, but I think this is one of the most interesting JCI Official courses and a real must do for all Local and National organizations.
Unfortunately  I had to cancel Me Inc!, because I got sick.

Both JCI Presenter and JCI Admin had highly active participants, which made the training very interesting. If you ask me there is nothing as fun a class full of active participants, asking questions and sharing their experience. I learned a lot and surely had a great time.

I will invite the participants for JCI Presenter and JCI Admin to share their thoughts about this training sessions, give some feedback and some comments on how they think I did as trainer.


JCI WorldCongress in India

In a few hours I will start my journey to Bharat desh, India, Land of half of my ancestors…… :). It should be about a hundred years ago that my mother’s grandparents (adji & adja) came to Suriname; to seek a better future in what they thought would be the Land of Shri Ram.

So they set foot on ground many years ago, worked very hard, and had a fulfilling live here in Suriname. From my mother’s side I’m the third generation born in Suriname. From my father’s side I’m also third generation in Suriname, from an immigrant from China. (So mainly my ancestors are both from India & China).

And so in about 24 hours from now I will set foot on ground in the place my great-grandparents came from, to be part of a very interesting and promising event.

I will participate with the JCI World Congress in New Delhi, India, this will be my second World Congress. This year I was selected as Head Trainer for one of the JCI Presenter courses which will be organized, Assistant Trainer for JCI Admin, and I will also be conducting one of my own seminars. The most exciting news for me will be that this will help me to achieve one very important goal I’ve set for myself within JCI, to be ITF by the end of 2008. 

I am all excited about this trip, and looking forward to a very successful trip. I am planning to enjoy my stay in India and of course to enjoy meeting my friends from all over the World, making new friends, and of course…see what business opportunities will be there for me this time…….