My Fellow Citizens
With the Christmas Season upon us, the New Year beckoning beyond the door
and having just come through an exciting, tense and sometimes divisive Election campaign, we have much to think about.
What is important now is that we all put the development of St. Lucia first on all our agendas.
For too many years issues in St. Lucia have been focused on the narrow and limited attainment of personal ambitions and egos to the detriment of the development of our country and its people. The selfish focus has been on the I and not the we, on the short-term attainment of our own needs and the loss of the long-term advancement of our society.
My simple message for this season is the need for a change in this attitude that has slowly seeped into our society. There is a need for us to think and act in a manner to bring us forward and not knock us down. There is a need to think of the important elements required for our development as a nation - like productivity in the workplace, the proper placement of the teachings of Christ in our lives, the development of the important social areas in our society, the nurturing and development of investment opportunities in a world that is becoming more hostile to small island states such as ours and most importantly working as a team in getting things accomplished.
Mine is a simple message but one that we all have to heed to develop the confidence to move our great little nation forward in the coming years.
On December 3rd, 2001 the people in the constituency of Castries Central and the voters in sixteen other constituencies made their decision as to who would lead them for the next five years. I sincerely thank the citizens of Central Castries for their second vote of confidence in me. In the New Year we have much planning to put in place in order to deal with the problems and issues of our highly urbanized environment in Central Castries. With the added areas of la Pansee, Conway/Barnard Hill, San Souci, Pearts Gap, Georgeville, Bois Patat Morne Du Don, Rose Hill, Lastic Hill, Pattersons Gap, Leslie Land and La Cou Douce we need a structured environment in which to get things done. Our first order of business in the new year will be to meet as communities to chart the way forward. The clean up campaign in Barnard Hill/Conway over the Christmas Season is indicative of the attitude we need to adopt to move forward.
I would like to pay special tribute to our Central Castries St. Lucia Labour Party members particularly those who have been so supportive over the past four and a half years and those from the previously named Castries Northeast constituency who recently joined us and have become such an integral part of our efforts in the constituency. Our path ahead is clear, there are undoubtedly many hurdles to get over, but with our trust in God as we plan and implement we will achieve all we set out to accomplish in the next few years.
Within this new Administration I have been assigned the Ministry of Home Affairs and Gender Relations. I very much look forward to dealing with the challenges and opportunities within these portfolios and continuing the good work begun by my colleague Hon Velon John.
The establishment of a juvenile center for girls, the holistic implementation of the plans for the new correctional facility, the more visitor friendly focus of the Immigration Department as they protect the integrity and security of our nation and its people, the greater focus on Gender Relations and the needs of our women and our young men in particular are all areas which I look forward to dealing with in this Ministry.
I can assure you though I shall give my full support for the efforts of the newly appointed Minister of Health, Human Services and Family Affairs the Hon. Damien Greaves and continue to advocate for the health of our people.
I shall miss the staff of the Ministry of Health, Human Services and Family Affairs but know that I can look forward to developing a good working relationship with those members of my new Ministry.
In all of this, our focus for the Season should be with Christ our Lord who was born in a manger during this wonderful period. His coming changed us all and we must contemplate his messages throughout the year 2002. The most important of these messages for the New Year is the respect we must show to others. I remember the sermon that preaches that the worst of men are not those who do not respect God but those who do not respect God nor Man.
We must respect and honour each other and in that way honour the spirit of Christmas which we then carry throughout the New Year.
My God Bless you my people of Central Castries, and May God Bless St Lucia .
Have a Merry Christmas and an Enjoyable and Prosperous New Year.
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