Charismatic authority is said to be rooted in the personal qualities of those who hold it and rests on a belief in the extraordinary powers or qualities of the leader. Such authority involves an attraction and devotion to the character and/or heroism of a particular person, and upon the willingness of others to obey. Charismatic authority thus, is exercised by individuals who may be said to possess charisma or a ‘magnetic personality', and who because of extraordinary personal qualities, for example, the gift of rhetoric, vision, inspirational qualities and deeds, are able to elicit obedience and allegiance".The Caribbean has had more than its fair share of charismatic leaders, many of whom have accessed governance in their respective countries and laid hold of the reins of political power for as long as their charisma held the people in a sort of psychological séance.It should be noted however that many fell in line with what some analysts have been eager to caution us about.
Charismatic authority often makes for a potential source of disruption to social organisation and is an inherently unstable form of authority.
St Vincent and the Grenadines now finds itself in the throes of a ruling regime that so prides itself on its charismatic leadership that it often mistakes the leaves for the forest.
Gonsalves and Sport
Here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, many analysts have signalled in no uncertain terms that Dr Gonsalves is a charismatic leader. During the elections campaign of 2000/1 the Gonsalves led Unity Labour Party, ULP, insisted that one of the pillars of its manifesto was the development of sport in the nation. In an effort that seem only intended to capture the votes of the nation's youths and sports people the ULP delivered a Youth Manifesto. Immediately following the general elections of 2001 we had the declaration of Pamenos Ballantyne, Skiddy Francis-Crick, Nixon McLean and Cameron Cuffy as Sports Ambassadors. Of course we have heard nothing of them since.