MESSAGE TO THE NATION BY DR THE HONOURABLE KEITH ROWLEY, MP PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO ON THE OCCASION OF CHRISTMAS 2016
In the spirit of the Christmas Season, I extend sincere wishes for a safe, joyous and happy Christmas to the Christian community, from the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago.
In my Christmas message last year I noted that 2016 may prove to be a challenging year for us in Trinidad and Tobago. But I also acknowledged that, as a people, we have an incredible spirit of resourcefulness and resilience which would allow us to overcome any difficulties in our path.
I am truly heartened to say that as a Nation we have stayed the course, making the sacrifices that have become necessary to ensure that we emerge from this period of adjustment stronger and more prosperous.
The religious traditions of the Christmas period ask the Christian community to put unconditional trust in God’s plan of salvation… a child would be sent to us, to grow and live among ordinary people and He would teach us love, sacrifice and forgiveness.
As we celebrate this festive occasion, in that same spirit of love and care, I ask you to spare a thought for our regional and international neighbours still overcoming the impact of on-going conflicts and environmental disasters.
Here at home we remember the members of our own communities – most recently Matelot, Madamas, Brasso Seco – who are re-building their homes and lives following unanticipated and uncharacteristic climatic conditions.
During this Christmas season let us continue to demonstrate our compassion for our brothers and sisters in need by sharing what we have with those who have lost their homes and other belongings during the year.
At this time I also ask that we keep in our prayers the families who have lost loved ones through violent or other unfortunate circumstances. To you, I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences. May the hope that this Season symbolizes give you the courage to move forward, in spite of your loss, trusting in the love and power of God.
As the year draws to a close, even in the midst of our Christmas celebrations, we all have an opportunity to reflect on the past year – our accomplishments, expectations met and those areas where we have underachieved. Perhaps, more importantly we may now re-set our goals and expectations in line with new-found knowledge and greater clarity of vision.
I especially call on each citizen, each family and each community to remain optimistic about the future of our country.
While I acknowledge that we are witnessing unacceptable levels of misconduct on the part of some of our citizens in our country today, I also give you the assurance that Government continues to make the issue of crime prevention our highest priority.
I and my Cabinet colleagues, along with the members of the National Security Council, the Police Service and the Defence Force, are taking all the necessary steps and exploring all the avenues that are available to us, to ensure the safety and comfort of the citizens of this country.
Moving into the New Year, I want all of us in Trinidad and Tobago to focus on the positive developments that are taking place for our country – our collaboration with the Government of Venezuela to access natural gas for our downstream industries; the imminent proclamation of the Procurement Legislation; Government’s move to enact Whistlerblower Protection legislation; the streamlining of the Primary School Curriculum; improvement of our healthcare delivery systems, the re-modeling of Government’s housing construction programme and our new thrust in re-shaping the tourism product we offer to the visitors to our shores.
All of these initiatives are designed to uplift our country and position us as a thriving, advanced and progressive Nation.
Let us therefore resolve to make 2017 a year of peace, productivity and prosperity. Let us carry that excitement, joy and hope that we feel today, as we celebrate the Christmas Season with family and friends, into the New Year. More importantly, let us continue to aspire and work together to realise the success I know this country is capable of achieving.
I and my family extend to each and every citizen in Trinidad and Tobago a safe and happy Christmas season and an enjoyable New Year.