by the Leader of the Opposition
Fellow Vincentians and friends, let us all celebrate Christmas as we have done over the years, as a special time of joy and hope. We must be thankful for our blessings and rejoice in the hope that the season brings.
All around our beautiful country, friends and neighbors prepare in various ways for the festive season. In our schools and churches, we portray in skits and dances the story of the birth of Christ, and choirs sing out Joy to the world, the Lord has Come! We do these things as remember why we celebrate and seek comfort in all the traditions and practices we love so much about this blessed season. Let the Christmas lights that brighten our communities also lift our spirits and remind us how beautiful we are as God’s creation.
When we rise on Christmas morning, I trust it will be with a spirit of thanksgiving and with a willingness to share and to be generous with one another. Some of us will have more gifts than others to open, more food to eat and more beverage to drink. Be willing to share with those who have little. There are many people in our country who may feel that there is little to celebrate, because they have struggled so hard in their daily lives to make ends meet. Many of us have had personal setbacks and losses this year. In my many conversations with people all over the country, I heard stories of hardship and pain. I heard from parents who have struggled financially to send their children to school; from business owners who wondered where their paying customers have gone; from farmers who continued to plant and reap but, despite the sweat of their brow, could hardly eat bread. In our politics, we were disappointed that the trial of the election petitions did not occur. But, we continue to work for and hope that, as the Court has said, it will take place early in the New Year.
Nevertheless, whatever we have, we must thank God for sparing our lives throughout the year and continue to believe in His promise that no matter how difficult things may get, if we ask, he will not fail us. Let us choose a positive way to go forward. Regard setbacks and obstacles, not as things that halt our progress, but merely tests of our strength and God-given abilities. This is as true for each person as it is for us collectively as a nation. With such resolve, we cannot fail.
It is only by believing in ourselves and in working together that we can move ahead as a country. Good leadership will set the course, but we must all play a part in building a strong economy that creates jobs for our people. We must acknowledge the struggle of our young people, who have completed school and are unable to find employment. There is risk in this, as the devil too often finds work for idle hands. We cannot continue suffer the consequences of rising violent crime and we should not accept as normal or inevitable the loss of our young people to the dark forces that threaten our nation. It is necessary to create the conditions to engage our people’s skills and talents in constructive and productive ways to improve their lives and promote the development of our country. Let us demand of our leaders, especially those who hold the reins of government, that we do better in 2019 and beyond!
I pray that we will have a happy and safe Christmas Season. Even at the height of enjoyment, let us try to avoid excesses. Also, be good stewards and look after our communities, our country and our planet.
Despite our challenges, our faith and diligent effort will see us through and by the grace of God, we will have a brighter future.