I extend Christmas greetings to all Jamaicans at home and abroad as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
This past year has been very challenging for many Jamaicans. Several hurricanes in the vicinity of the island caused extensive infrastructural damage and setbacks in areas such as agriculture. Our children have been under attack, not just in increasing numbers, but also in the severity of the crimes committed against them. The recession in the global economy is predicted to have an adverse effect on the country and several measures have been introduced to combat the impact of this crisis.
The recent tragedy in Portland has added unbearable sorrow to Jamaicans at the personal, local and national levels. I wish to offer my sympathy to the families who have suffered tremendous loss.
I urge Jamaicans to now identify and implement those measures that can be adopted to overcome our various challenges, thereby creating renewed hope for the future.
We must revisit those fundamental values that have sustained the nation in our struggle for development over these many years and then see how they can be strengthened and applied to the present circumstances.
Values such as self-reliance, the use of our indigenous resources and the each-one-help-one community spirit, that were so characteristic of the Jamaican society in the past, may still hold the key to our survival in the future.
In addition to this, we should never forget the pivotal role that our indigenous institutions and organizations have played in national development over the years. Let us continue to support them as they play their part in the building of the nation.
At this time of year, the emphasis is on sharing with family and friends near and far. But as we do this, let us not forget our responsibility to the most vulnerable in our society who are in need of care and assistance. Extending a hand of kindness to those who are in need can bring cheer this Christmas.
Each of us can make a positive difference. Let us do it. Happy Christmas and may God bless you all.