My Fellow Jamaicans:
We have come to the end of another year in our history. This is the time of the year when we relax, share, reflect, and express our appreciation for life, the love of family and friends. As we give and receive tangible gifts, we should also acknowledge the important and intangible gifts of love, forgiveness, healing and hope, which we can freely share with others.
This has been a dynamic and challenging year in the experience of many persons. It was a year in which we did many things right, but there were also areas in which we faltered. It was a year that impacted the lives of every Jamaican, at the social, economic and political levels. Some of our fellow citizens lost jobs, some were dislocated because of natural and other causes, and some are still dependent on the generosity of others for the basic necessities of life.
Many families are spending their first Christmas without a loved one because they have been affected by crime and violence, illness, road accidents, or other fatal circumstances. We empathise with you, and pray that you will find peace and comfort so that you can move on courageously with your lives.
As we celebrate this Holiday Season, with expressions of joyful outpouring, amid the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking and eating, traveling and reuniting with family, we should also pause for reflection.
I believe our reflections should remind us that, in spite of the stresses of life, we can survive, and we can be strong. As a result of the problems we experienced, we now have a deeper appreciation of our resilience, and we should be inspired to collectively garner from the natural, interpersonal, spiritual and social environment around us, the wisdom of our heritage, the strength of our purpose, and the breadth of our multiplicity.
Although we have been buffeted and battered by global, national and personal challenges, there are positive signs that things are beginning to get better. Civil society seems more deeply conscious of our responsibility to each other, and many have become weary of divisive behaviours.
We are looking forward to the day,
- when all will understand the true meaning of peace;
- when the weapons of war will perish,
- and our country will be able to achieve its objective to be the ‘place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.’
We have already seen evidence that our young people are striving for excellence, and are articulating and demonstrating a consciousness of a preferred future for Jamaica.
We have been blessed and given opportunities with which to go forward:
- To continue our involvement at the community level despite limited funding and the fear of failure.
- To redouble our energies and provisions of resources, to ensure that needs are met
- To engage our children to grasp the vision of a Jamaica where there is peace, honesty, goodness, wholeness and love.
Lady Allen joins me in wishing for you a happy, healthy and Holy Holiday Season. God bless you.