Fellow citizens, on behalf of my family and all of us in the United National Congress, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Christmas is, of course, that very special time of year, when we get together with our families, friends and loved ones and share in the joy of the season. Many of us will partake in the great traditions of a true Trini Christmas, with good food, music and lots of cheer.
But while we enjoy all that the season brings, let us remember the real meaning behind the festivities: the birth of Jesus Christ. For our Christian brothers and sisters, the life and teachings of Jesus Christ are central to their faith. And Jesus’s simple yet inspiring words of love and compassion towards all of our fellow men, regardless of race, creed or religion, should serve as the guiding principle in our daily lives.
We should also be mindful of those of our neighbours who are facing a less than joyous Christmas. Thousands of our fellow citizens will be marking the occasion not knowing where their next paycheck will be coming from. Many are still trying to rebuild their lives from the damage wrought by the worst flooding we have seen in our recent history. Our citizens in Tobago continue to suffer the dire economic effects of a collapsed sea-bridge, and the mismanagement of our country’s economy by the current administration plagues us all. Sadly, this year T&T entered the history books for the wrong reasons, recording its 515th murder – the second highest number in a decade.
It is for these reasons, that this Christmas I urge everyone to remember the teachings of Jesus and to share what little we have with those in need. Whether it is simply giving toys to families that have none, helping your neighbours with groceries of simply spending time with those who are alone during the season. Continue with the spirit of giving and the selflessness that we’ve seen in the last few months as we all came tougher and worked to help our fellow citizens affected by severe flooding. Love and compassion: these are the gifts that are truly priceless.
This Christmas should be a time of reflection and a time to strengthen the bonds of love that unite us all. Now is the time for us all to take a critical look at the state of our nation, and recommit to working to build the future that we want to see for our country – one in which our children are safe, healthy, and getting the best education; where our citizens are employed in well-paying jobs so that they can provide for their families; where the right environment is created for businesses to develop and investments are made to ensure our economic stability and growth.
Fellow citizens, let us also not forget the symbol that the birth of Jesus embodies – hope. As long as we have faith in ourselves, we have hope for a better tomorrow. As long as we believe we can make a difference, we can steer our nation onto a better course. It remains up to each of us to work towards realizing this vision of a stronger, united and more prosperous Trinidad and Tobago.
This may be a dark Christmas for many in Trinidad and Tobago, but remember, it is always darkest before the dawn. And it won’t be long before the dawn of a new day is upon us.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and God’s blessings for a happy, peaceful and healthy 2019 and beyond.
25th December, 2018