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1999 Chrismas Day Message

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1999 Christmas Message by

Honourable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony

Prime Minister and Parliamentary Representative for Vieux Fort South

INTRODUCTION

By this time, you have probably had your fill of writers and speakers remarking on the significance of this Christmas 1999, coming as it does at the end of the century and the commencement of the millennium. No doubt, you can now predict that it will be difficult to avoid mention of the end of the nineteen-hundreds and the grand finale of the past thousand years. I suppose this is inevitable, given the predictability of what we might call "millennium fever".

CHRISTMAS SEASON

But while there is something special very about the end of this year as it waits on the cusp of 2000, the Christmas season recalls us to the unchanging, eternal values of "peace on earth, good will to all mankind." The story of the heart of the Christian message is one of the love of God for His creation and His never-changing call to us to "love your neighbour as yourself." Simple, yet profound, but difficult to believe and practice. As the golden rule reminds us, many problems facing government and citizens would cease to exist, if we would do unto others as we expect them to do unto us.

Even as so many of us await 2000 with apprehension, the message of Christmas offers an anchor of faith to those who seek to build communities on the basis of shared spirit and mutual responsibility . With respect for the spiritual fortitude of our grandfathers and grandmothers, with gratitude for the best of the cultural heritage we have received, we can look forward to the new year with determination, optimism and hope.

DISASTERS

Except for the late-season ravages of Lennie, we have been spared major hurricane disasters. This year, in retrospect, may well be termed land slippage year, given our experiences in Boguis and Black Mallet. At this time, I ask that you remember those who have been rendered homeless in Coin de Lanse and Baron's Drive in Soufriere, because of the destruction unleashed by the anger and fury of Hurricane Lenny's towering waves. I invite you to remember too, those families who have had to be relocated because of land slippage in Black Mallet and Maynard Hill. The residents of Black Mallet and Maynard Hill have responded with fortitude, endurance, and resilience in the face of adversity. They have handled their situation with calmness and dignity, refusing to be daunted by the adjustments in their daily lives. They have offered us lessons in coping with disaster.

SOME WORDS OF CAUTION

I join with our fire services, especially during this holiday period, to implore parents to be more careful where the danger of fires is concerned. Too many lives, both young and old, are lost, because of the irresponsibility of those who ought to know better. The open flames of candles left untended in homes where children are left alone for hours hove too often resulted in tragic loss of life.

I also join with our traffic police in calling on drivers to respect the driving regulations. Loss of life on the roads through drunken driving or unnecessary speeding is a tragic waste. The selfishness and lawlessness that lead to such anti-social behaviour (and all other criminal activity) is a direct contradiction of the Christmas spirit that we hold dear.

WELCOME TO VISITORS

Let use welcome home St Lucians visiting for the holidays. I understand that nearly two hundred Saint Lucians from Anse La Raye and Canaries who reside in the United Kingdom are spending the festive season with us. On behalf of the Government, I extend a warm welcome to them and other Saint Lucians who have opted to greet the millennium in our homeland.

The recent developments in international trade have proven that more that even, we need to engage the talents and abilities of our nationals who reside overseas. St Lucians at home and abroad are St Lucians. Wherever we find ourselves we must remember that we are "Sons and daughters of St Lucia, (and we) love the land that gave us birth."

Among all those expectations now flying from the mast-head of 2000, I am looking forward to a more dynamic and expanded relationship with our brothers and sister who make their homes overseas. As our foreign minister recently emphasized, we must not underestimate the influence of our people who live in the great capitals. We must strengthen and deepen our contacts with each other. I am open to ideas from St Lucians who live in other countries regarding ways in which we might draw on each others' resources.

I send special greeting to all those vibrant overseas organizations of St Lucians who concern themselves with the good and welfare of our citizens at home and abroad.

A SPECIAL WORD TO VIEUX FORT SOUTH

Let me take a few moments to address to my constituents of Vieux Fort South. We have accomplished much together during this past year.

All of St Lucia has seen on the television news how the Mangue has been transformed. In fact, the Mangue is now being referred to as "Manguehattan." The road leading into Baccadere has been paved. So too has the road around the Square. The Drainage project in Shanty Town will soon be completed. Pipe-borne water is now available to the residents of this area, thanks to the Poverty Reduction Fund.

In the town, more street lights have been put up. No corner of Vieux Fort South is without electricity. Our new street signs will soon be erected.

The contracts for the stands for the Friendship Park Pavillion have been signed. Work will commence in January 2000.

Major construction and expansion works have been taking place. The Chinese-built free zone is nearing completion, as is the Fish Port being constructed by the Japanese. The new commercial centre, Southern Shores, next to Gablewoods Mall, should be completed early next year.

A new hotel project is on the drawing board. At the airport, the much-needed expansion of flights and also facilities continues.

Next year, the long-suffering residnets of La Ressource and La Tourney will have their water problems resolved as WASCO lays water mains in the area.

The programme to make land available to residents of our community, commences next year.

Yes, we have accomplished much. Together, we will accomplish even more in the new year!

Despite our success, we have also experienced tragedy and pain. Some six families lost their homes by fire. Two houses were destroyed in La Ressource, two, in ShantyTown and recently, three in Westhall Group. At this time, I ask you to reach out and touch with sympathy, love and generosity the victims of the last fire.

Of course, everyone knows by now that our football teams have made us in Vieux Fort very proud. On behalf of all of us of Vieux Fort South, let me again congratulate Southern Sales Root Alley Ballers, and the Vieux Fort South Football team who have brought home three major titles this year. As you know, in tribute to the achievements of the Roots Alley Ballers, we have renamed Westall Group B. The road will now be re-christened Roots Alley Lane, after the best team in the country at the close of this century.

CONCLUSION

In the midst of plenty for many, let us not forget the poor and needy, For many, Christmas is not the happiest time of the year. Loved ones who have passed away have left empty places, others are too ill to enjoy the festivities, and many are still afflicted by nagging poverty. But in spite of the shadows that loom over our world, let us shine into the lives of those around us with generosity and kindness. The great light that shone around those shepherds so long ago still shines through the Christmas season, its messages and carols. Perhaps if we give ourselves to be St Lucian lanterns for that light, our little nation would experience the peace, joy and goodwill that would undergird the work of our daily lives.

May you all have a good Christmas season and may the year 2000 bring you all many blessings and prosperity.

Bon Nwel. Bon Joudlan. Bon Sante. Bondye beni nou tout. Mesi.

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