Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar's Christmas message

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM KAMLA PERSAD-BISSESSAR, MP, SC LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION & MP FOR SIPARIA 
 
Christmas is a time of love and togetherness, when we put aside our differences and celebrate the remarkable event that took place in Bethlehem more than two thousand years ago. 
 
There is a feeling of warmth and joyfulness as families gather to participate in our “Trini” traditions – fruit cake, sorrel, pastelles, parang, and many others that make our celebrations unique.   Amidst the merriment, however, I am painfully aware of the social and economic turmoil facing our country.   
 
I know it is difficult for many to feel festive at this time, especially when those who govern our country appear to have abdicated their responsibility to citizens, choosing to abandon the poor and vulnerable and thousands of others who face uncertainty as we close one year and prepare to begin another.   
 
Children have been victims of heinous crimes; parents and grandparents are at the mercy of rapists and murderers. Women and girls are disappearing, while an uncaring and impotent administration washes its hands like Pontius Pilate, refusing to take responsibility for protecting citizens. 
 
As we mark another Christmas, countless families are unable to find shelter or purchase food and other necessities.  My thoughts are with the thousands of people who have lost jobs, and who have little hope of finding an alternative means of survival. Even those who have incomes are finding difficulty in coping as the cost of living escalates, with a promise of more hardships to come. 
 
Still I ask you, my fellow citizens, to never despair.  
 
Yes, there are challenges ahead, and I urge the people of Trinidad and Tobago to continue to take courage and work together to address these challenges. Each of us has an important role to play in strengthening unity in our nation, and in moving the country forward.  
 
Today, in spite of our adversity we have one another. Let us share that which money cannot buy, as we reflect on the Son of God who came to us in the humblest surroundings. He had nothing to give but love and compassion, delivered with humility. He taught us how to live. 
  
Let Christmas continue to inspire all of us and our families to come together, to share what we have, and give to those less fortunate.   
 
We are a resilient people who have always lived together in unity and solidarity. Our common history of bondage and servitude has made us one family and we must continue to live that way, celebrating our strength and all that brings us together, while banishing hate and anything else that divides us. That is the universal message of Christmas. 
 
It is a time to follow the path of Jesus – to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, embrace the unwanted, and care for the ill. Let us do that and more and keep Christmas in our hearts and our lives every day.  
 
Let us move into 2017 with a positive outlook, and renewed commitment to building our nation. 
 
On my own behalf, and on behalf of my family and my extended United National Congress family, I wish you a most joyous Christmas and God’s blessings for a happy and healthy 2017 and beyond.