Another Christmas is upon us, and it seems like only yesterday I was
expressing the customary salutations associated with this special season. Again
this year, I emphasize that the focus of the celebrations should be on Christ,
whose birth and very life was devoted to the salvation of mankind.
Indeed, this is a season of joy, goodwill, cheer and sharing of gifts. However,
we must always remember the words of Christ himself:
“what greater love is there than for a man to lay down his life for his
We sometimes focus too much on the physical trappings of Christmas at the
expense of the enduring gifts of love, charity and understanding.
We should use this season to embark on a philosophy of caring and compassion for
the less fortunate – one that will result in feeding the hungry, clothing the
naked, caring for the sick and aged; and protecting the most vulnerable among
We must also endeavour to make a pledge to supplant bigotry, narrow self and
sectoral interests in our lives; with tolerance, goodwill and understanding.
As Minister responsible for Communications, Works, Transport and Public
Utilities, it has been a very challenging year and I thank the many persons who
have contributed to the successes achieved in those various portfolios.
- We have experienced significant benefits by way of employment and
value-added to the economy through the opening-up of the telecommunications
market to competition.
- Cabinet appointed a Ministerial Sub-Committee to examine the water
situation in the country and to ensure that attention is paid to improvement
of the delivery of services and conservation of the resource. Next year will
prove to be a very challenging but exciting time for the water sector and the
responsibility for the prudent use of this critically important resource will
be that of every individual and household.
- In 2003 there was an escalation of the one to three pole jobs in the Rural
Electrification Programme (REP) to facilitate connections to individual
households. This resulted in a scale down of larger community jobs. However,
with funding support from the BNTF and PRF we hope in the New Year to step-up
the implementation of those larger jobs.
- We have in place a comprehensive and funded road programme that includes
road rehabilitation and construction that will bring our road network to a
level that St. Lucians and visitors expect. I know your patience is running
thin with regard to the condition of the roads, but I urge you to “hold
strain” for a little longer, relief is on the way.
- There has been substantial investment in upgrading and improving security
at our Air and Seaports in order to cope with the new realities and demands
triggered by the events of 9/11. This has been a very costly but absolutely
indispensable requirement to keep St. Lucia competitive and compliant within
the world’s trading and traveling systems.
- In Transport, I am pleased to congratulate the Transport Board on their
positive impact on the safety on the roads and to applaud the newly emerging
improvements in the attitude and behaviour of our mini-bus drivers.
- The closure of some community post offices has been countered by a more
efficient and effective delivery system encompassing the erection of community
letter boxes. This trend will continue in the New Year.
- Thanks to the assistance of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
and the EDF, the Meteorological Department has completely revamped its
operations by replacing antiquated equipment with state of the art technology.
This will result in more effective data gathering and accurate weather
There have been failures, delays and disappointments but we should now use
the festive season to also rest, reflect, re-energize and refashion ourselves as
a people who are absolutely intolerant of mediocrity and failure.
No thanks could be too much for the people of Babonneau without whose support I
could not be delivering this message. I wish my constituents all good things for
Christmas and I beg for your continued support in the New Year. There is a lot
to be done together.
To my colleagues in Cabinet and in the Parliament, thanks for your continued
collaboration, love and respect. We have a shared vision of an improved quality
of life for all St. Lucians.
To my extended family, that is, the employees of the Ministry, let me remind you
that you are on the frontline. Your comfort, understanding and commitment are
indispensable to our success. Please have an enjoyable and restful holiday
season whilst you strengthen your resolve to achieve more in an environment of
May God, who knows the goodness of your life throughout the year, bless you
abundantly, and may he fill the days ahead with graces from above; and grant you
all the happiness you're so deserving of!
Please exercise caution when using the roads.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year