Once again the time of year demands that we take time to reflect, to analyse
and to account for our own stewardship over the last twelve months. We need to
do so for ourselves. And having done so we may choose to underline our regrets
and mourn or to highlight our own achievements and celebrate.
Most of us will have regrets. The optimist in us will no doubt convince us that
these were mere aberrations and amidst those regrets were achievements worthy of
celebration. Perhaps we recognise too that the experience gained from those
regrets may well be the foundation required for another lift off - another
attempt to build.
Christmas however begs us to celebrate. We are all familiar with what King Pelay
has termed Tradicion Noel. It has become part of us. Our stores become a hub of
activity - our children masses of excitement and our streets tell us we live in
a city. We all look forward to a very merry Christmas.
I believe that it is fitting that having sent His only son into this world to be
our example, and to redeem us, we demonstrate to God, our own appreciation, and
celebrate the anniversary of the birth of His son. But the celebration must be
complete. While we are all entitled to choose the manner of celebration that
suits us, we cannot forget that we are in fact thanking God for sending us His
son. The season of advent that leads into Christmas, and the Midnight Mas that
actually starts Christmas is a most powerful introduction and should guide the
Christian in his manner of celebration.
Midnight Mass is probably one of the better attended masses of the year. In my
view this is because as Christians we understand the significance of the coming
of Christ and make that special effort to celebrate. But we know that time and
the world do not stand still, and one cannot help but observe that as time has
moved on, less emphasis has been placed on the Christian aspect of our
celebration. Perhaps it would be advisable to take some time this Christmas to
rethink our priority.
For some of us it is a time of renewal - renewal of the material things around
us, our furniture, our wardrobe even our diet. Others only seek a renewal of
spirit - a determination to find real success in the coming year. We should not
deny ourselves the right to celebrate but as we celebrate we should remember
that we cannot afford the excesses and we the older ones and the leaders in
particular must be examples in that regard. Ours must be a society where love
reigns and once that is the case, civility will be the hallmark of our society.
The cries are regularly heard - crime has got out of hand - that is a clear
indication that we have abandoned our Christian principles. We lament the fact
that criminals are not caught, even when they commit their crimes in the
presence of a number of witnesses. The silence of the witness is like fertile
soil to the criminal. The end result is the loss of a Christian virtue - that
which requires us to Love our neighbour.
As a society we have failed to instil into our children the need to love one
another. We have embarked on a path where, in the main, selfishness and greed
dictate how we live our lives. The love and generosity that once characterised
our society has been replaced by a “weer pou cow” attitude. We no longer seem to
care about our neighbour. It is comforting to note however that there are still
persons whose very existence has demanded the exploitation of every survival
instinct imaginable, yet such persons can always welcome and offer something to
a passer by. Such Christian virtues must survive if society will.
This Christmas in our moments of reflection we should ask ourselves a number of
questions: Have we done anything to make this a better place? Have we simply sat
back and allowed things to happen rather than stood up and made things happen?
And if we sat back, did we just criticise what we allowed to happen? Have we
trapped ourselves into thinking that whatever happens we must criticise even if
we have not taken time to think about it? Do we always follow rather than lead
particularly when our leadership skills are evident? Are we being true to the
values that make us model citizens?
If we cannot answer these questions in the affirmative then we have been failing
ourselves in our duty towards our society. Our society needs us. We in turn need
a society that reflects who we are and the values we appreciate. If we do not
participate and contribute towards the achievement of this ideal the decadence,
the permissiveness, and the moral decay that has crept into our communities will
destroy us as well as those who succeed us.
This Christmas, we must remember the many families who will be celebrating
without one or more of their loved ones. Many of us will send one Christmas card
less because we were confronted with our own mortality during the year and saw
the demise of someone we cared for. We pray that we have come to terms with our
own grief, and recognise that as we pass through this world our contribution
should be such that we leave a happier place, in happiness.
We must have a special place in our hearts for those children who only know
gifts at Christmas. Many may have spent the year in abject poverty having been
brought into this world and effectively forgotten. The gifts of Christmas and
the special parties will no doubt allow them to feel the spirit of Christmas.
We must remember too those persons who no longer have a family to spend
Christmas with. Our duty in civil society, is to ensure that they are not alone,
that they can be comforted because we, their neighbours love them and because we
do, they will continue to be cared for and theirs will not be a sad and lonely
And there are many whose mobility is limited and who are not able to join us as
we move around in merriment. Perhaps last year they were as lively and mobile as
some of us but because of accident or other eventuality are now confined to bed,
to a wheel chair or to crutches. Let us not forget that they too must have a
happy Christmas and if they cannot join us, we should join them.
And there are those who have offended society and are repaying that debt with
their liberty. That does not preclude them from having a Happy Christmas. We
pray that they are in fact being rehabilitated, can have as Happy a Christmas as
circumstances allow. We also hope that the majority of them will return to
contribute lawfully and meaningfully to a better society.
Christmas will always be Christmas and that special feeling of joy and good
cheer must be maintained. The Sewenal that has survived the ages must continue.
The seasonal greetings and the songs of Christmas must continue to herald glad
tidings. That celebratory mood must be part of our season but we must remember
to be measured and considerate. We cannot afford to have a post Christmas
bulletin dominated by the effects of the use of guns - the real weapons of mass
destruction - and other attacks on civil society.
I trust therefore that those entrusted with upholding the law will be vigilant
and ensure that law breakers are brought to justice. Guns and ammunition are not
part of our culture. Neither is gang related crime. Weapons are not clothes. We
should leave home without them. We must pray however that innocent ones are not
locked away because someone chooses to take the easy option. Our duty must be to
find criminals not create them.
In Choiseul and in Saltibus Christmas has brought with it continuing complaints
about the state of our roads. It is heart-wrenching to observe that women and
children in particular must continue to struggle with their shopping because
vehicles simply cannot afford to drive on some of our roads. As I’ve often noted
there’s hardly a road in this constituency that is motorable.
And whether we are in Darban or in Le Riche, in Delcer, Bois Den or Raveneau the
road continues to be an impediment to progress.
We have attempted slight relief in some areas. I can assure you however, that
the Government is fully aware of our predicament and hope that the plans which
are already afoot will be implemented urgently. We know that these are the roads
that matter to us. Every one will use the highway but few will be able to savour
the beauty of our constituency unless we make our very many communities
It has not been all gloom however and the people along the De Brieul Montete to
Myers Bridge road and to a lesser extent the people of Balcar can now ride along
a far more comfortable road. Additionally our fishermen now have excellent
facilities to work with and once use of this facility is maximised the benefits
to the industry will be incalculable.
So there is good reason to celebrate. Let us therefore enjoy this Christmas
together. Let us try to forgive the indiscretions of some of our neighbours. Let
us try to love one another and, together, let us all have a Really Merry