Christmas Messages
December 23, 2009
Hope for a better day is around the corner

23.DEC.09

Christmas Message by Honourable Arnhim Eustace, Leader of the Opposition

Once again we are at that time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It seems to me as if the year is actually getting shorter – or is it that the pace of the trials and the joys of life are so intense that we no longer look at time?{{more}}

Are we overwhelmed by our situation as a nation that we pay little or no attention to elapsed time? Or is it that for some that the joys of life so dominate our thoughts that we pay little attention to elapsed time?

This year, our people will have faced a second consecutive year of negative growth in our economy characterized by significant layoffs of workers in both the private and public sectors. I do not expect 2010 to be any better. I, therefore, expect poverty to rise further in 2010 and continued hardship for the majority of our people. Some will tell you that there is economic recession all over the world, and that is true. Our country is also affected by that recession. The world recession affects all of our OECS neighbours. But those governments which took positive action to deal with the impact of international recession performed far better than those that did not.

Our country, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, took no positive action and, therefore, tied with Angullia at the cellar position in economic growth for the year 2008 – both having negative growth. In addition, SVG has had the dubious distinction of having the highest rising prices (rate of inflation), 8.3%, as compared to the OECS average of 4.8%. No wonder so many of our people are facing grave difficulties. This poor performance speaks for itself, and is reflected in the very poor performance of those who proposed the YES vote in the recent campaign. The vote in the November 25 Referendum is a reflection of the reality of people’s living conditions here in SVG.

I cannot end this brief message without expressing solidarity with all those workers at the Ministry of Transport and Works, C.O Williams Construction, and other workers who have not received their salaries or severance payments before Christmas. It is a crying shame!

Our people are very resourceful, and I know that with the help of those who are better off, combined with that of our Lord and Saviour, will get by this season and have those moments of joy and happiness that they so well deserve.

I wish also to say to them also that hope for a brighter and better day for all is just around the corner.

May God bless us all at this Yuletide Season.