The Leadership Standard



All governments derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed hence the need for an election in five yearly cycles. To maintain legitimacy all governments must be prepared to live by those conventions and codes of conduct that preserve that trust and confidence of the electorate.


Good Governance demands that there is an adherence to these conventions and codes of conduct in order that, and to preserve the utmost trust between the government and the governed. Conventions that govern the conduct of members of parliament and all political appointees have at its core the observance of what are ethical standards of proof. This convention as espoused in all developed political systems is what is known as the Leadership standard the leadership standard is that standard from which all governments derive their legitimacy.

Placed within this context of a population that now demands the highest of integrity in public affairs, transparency and accountability the following ethical standards of proof must be applied to all instances where Government Officials are accused of wrong doing. The following are the standards of proof that are required.

The Criminal Standard

At the lowest level is the criminal standard of proof. In general, the accuser must prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Failure to meet this standard will result in the accused being acquitted. Where the accuser meets this standard the accused is convicted and faces jail or a fine.

The Civil Standard

At a somewhat higher level is the civil standard, where again the accuser must prove the case. Here the evidence need not be beyond reasonable doubt, but merely more likely than not. This standard is employed in areas such as breach of contract etc.

The two standards above are legally enforceable but are not sufficient in themselves to build a viable society the following are also necessary.

The Business Standard

At an even higher is the standard of falsifiability. This is where the person performing the act has a positive duty to prove that he has not committed any wrongdoing. This is most commonly seen in business scenarios where persons conducting transactions must provide evidence (e.g. records such as invoices, purchase orders, sales receipts etc.) to prove that their conduct was at an acceptable standard. Another common example is the filing of tax returns where again the burden of proof is on the tax payer. Falsifiability refers to the idea that any item of evidence adduced can be tested by those to whom it is presented to verify the truth or falsity of the statement. As an example a purchasing clerk may provide a list of quotes from vendors with respect to a particular purchase. His supervisor is then able to falsify any quote by directly contacting the vendor himself. If there is sufficient information to facilitate contacting the vendor, the list of quotes is said to be falsifiable and the clerk has met the standard. If insufficient information is provided so that the supervisor cannot contact all the vendors, then the standard has not been met, the evidence is not falsifiable and disciplinary action may be appropriate.

The Fiduciary Standard

At an even higher level is the fiduciary standard. The person meeting this standard must prove that his discretion has been exercised in good faith in the best interest of those to whom he owes this duty. Not only must it be proven that transactions are financially proper but the decision to undertake the transaction was done bona fide with the best interest of the beneficiaries. Fiduciaries are not allowed to benefit from any transactions and any and all profits achieved must accrue to the beneficiaries. This applies even if there is no wrongdoing on the part of the fiduciary. This standard applies to agents, trustees, representatives, company directors and most especially government ministers.

The Standard of Leadership

At the highest level is the standard of leadership. At the very least leaders are expected to meet the fiduciary standard of behaviour. In addition, in all aspects of their lives they must demonstrate the highest levels of honesty and integrity. A leader must prove fidelity and consistency to his expressed ideals and convictions. He must clearly express and prove by consistent words and actions his ideals and convictions, which cannot be compromised.

The problem with countries like T&T is that we continue to use the criminal standard as the standard of leadership. People always tell us who they are, if we would only listen. The nature of a man is revealed by the standard he advocates. True leaders subscribe to the standard of leadership. Businessmen subscribe to the civil standard. The so called leaders in this country, with their pleas of bring the proof are aiming for the criminal standard. This tells me what they are, clearly not leaders.