My fellow citizens and residents:
There is no gainsaying that 2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year so far. COVID-19 has created a near topsy turvy world, disrupting our traditional customs and practices and imposing on us compliance on an evolving new normal – wearing masks, frequent hand hygiene and physical distancing. COVID-19 presents a dangerous threat to our health and wellbeing. It has also reversed the growth of the global economy resulting in job losses, loss of incomes, business failures and hardships for individuals, corporations and institutions around the world. There are uncertainty and turmoil in many parts of the World at this Yuletide Season.
Inspite of the turbulence, those of you, my compatriots and well wishers listening and viewing this Christmas message are tremendously fortunate, for God has been good to us. He has spared our lives in an environment in which over a million persons have died as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
God’s goodness and mercy have prevailed in our lives here in St Kitts and Nevis. If for no other reason, we can celebrate this Christmas, with a sense of favour and with praises to God who lent us his Son as our intercessor. I want to acknowledge the front line workers including our law enforcement officers who put their service and duty first even at risk to themselves. I want to thank our health and medical professionals who worked around the clock, putting the needs of the wider society ahead of their own. I want to thank those workers who kept our Federation running, putting their nation first. I thank you sincerely. Thanks! Thanks to you for the part you have been playing in keeping our beloved Federation of St Kitts and Nevis safe.
Let me thank you, the wonderful people of our Federation who have made significant sacrifices during this time. I know it was difficult not being able to see your family and friends residing overseas as you would like, or living life as you used to. But it was your sacrifice, following the rules, that made the difference and helped to protect our Federation through the difficult period of COVID-19. Our all of society approach has become a model not only for addressing the pandemic but a best practice for good governance. We can all feel good that our collective efforts have resulted in St Kitts and Nevis being designated as a low risk jurisdiction by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States of America. We have the lowest rate of infection in the region. We have no deaths and our leadership has been exemplary. For these fine accomplishments we must give God thanks. I remind my citizens and residents never to become complacent. COVID-19 still remains an existential threat.
The threat has not passed, the virus is still with us and other countries are now experiencing and reporting on a second wave. We know that by working together, committing ourselves to the health and safety of each other, and standing together there is nothing we cannot face and nothing we cannot achieve.
COVID-19 has reminded us that all is not well with planet earth and we must do a better job of co-existing with nature. The things so freely given to us by our creator – sea, sand, sunshine, mountains, fresh air etc. and which we have taken for granted, COVID-19 has in some ways caused us to better appreciate these gifts from God.
God’s greatest gift to us is his Son, Jesus Christ. He was born in a Manger in humble, simple circumstances. Yet from the modesty and simplicity of his birth, and the ignominy of his death on a cross, he rose triumphant over the grave. For us the grave is metaphorically captivity, depression, lack and want, over which, we must through God’s grace and mercy rise in hope and victory.
This time of year we draw inspiration, not just from Scripture but from the carols we sing. I am reminded of a verse from that beautiful carol, “Oh Holy Night” which says “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices… For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn”. What a gift the Lord has given us, with the gift of hope and promise of a bright future!
With the displacement caused by the pandemic we may not have as much material things to share this Christmas. We are reminded of the promise in the 23rd Psalm that the Lord is our Shepherd and we shall not want. Rather than focus on the material, I encourage my fellow citizens and residents to focus on the spiritual and intangible.
Let us this Christmas recommit ourselves to a life of service, first to God, to family, community and Country. Let our gifts be gifts of charity, love, hope, service, and the caring that we give to everyone who needs them and let these precious and priceless virtues endure in our lives at Christmas and beyond.
On behalf of myself and family, and the wider Cabinet of St Kitts and Nevis, I extend sincerest Christmas Greetings to every citizen and resident. I wish you and your family a blessed, safe and happy Christmas. Let us be grateful that we are together. Let us give thanks that so far here in St Kitts and Nevis we have weathered the storm. Let us look to the New Year with hope and optimism that the good Lord will continue to bless and favour us and our beloved Federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
I remember in a specially fond way our front line workers and their families, our sick, our shut-in, the caregivers, prayer warriors, my Constituents, my compatriots and well wishers. I pray that notwithstanding the challenges of COVID-19, we will keep ourselves and loved ones safe. Let us look forward with optimism and hope to a stronger and safer future.
May God continue to bless St Kitts and Nevis.
Again, Happy Christmas to All!