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Message from Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony on the occasion of the celebration of the Festival of Light and Renewal, December 12, 2003

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Message from Prime Minister
Dr Kenny D. Anthony
on the occasion of the celebration of the Festival of Light and Renewal,
December 12, 2003

        This time of the year officially ushers in the festive season. It’s also a time of family renewal and invocation of the community spirit, a time when we treat our neighbours as we really should all year round.

        Where once this period was also spent celebrating non-events in our history, the Festival of Light and Renewal has evolved as a cultural showcase of illuminated creativity with a spirit of caring and sharing, of peace and good will as we approach Christmas and the New Year.

        Our theme this year is dedicated to a celebration of our children. It is: “Children – Illuminating the Way for a Brighter Future”

        Nothing holds more truth, especially in these times when we have come to appreciate the importance of our children to the nation now and for the future.
Where once upon a time our children were regarded and treated as lesser beings until attaining a certain age, today we are becoming increasingly aware that our children need our absolute care and attention at all phases of their development, from cradle to grave.

        When it comes to our children, not all of us do all that we should and too many of us do what we shouldn’t. However, the society is moving apace in the direction of giving more deserved respect to our children.

        Horror stories there still are, but equally, there are stories of achievement, example, perseverance and attainment of set goals.

        The decision to designate a Year of the Child in St. Lucia is testimony of our commitment to put and keep our children on the national agenda.

        Their voices have been and are still being heard as they too become more aware of and appreciate our recognition of their rights as equal human beings.
However, the voices of our children must not only be heard. Instead, they must also be listened to, their needs must be attended to and firm foundations must be laid for their future.

        Our tradition of caring and sharing around this time is not only restricted to our children. This is also a time when each of us veritably becomes his brother’s keeper and her sister’s sister.

        The good will we share in this season is not simply an expression of seasonal offering. It is rooted in our tradition of living as communities of people with like minds, experiences and aspirations.

        If the strength of our community-mindedness determines the level and depth of community activity, then it is imperative that, especially in these times, we encourage community cooperation at a greater level.

        It’s a time to share more than food and drinks; one during which we must also continue to care for and share with those who are less fortunate.
Our holiday season at this time of the year has traditionally allowed us to not only be good to each other, but also to reflect on where we came from and what we did in the preceding year.

        It allows us to ponder on where we are now and what we’re doing for today and tomorrow. It is also a time of the year that beginning the countdown to the end of this year and the beginning of yet another.

        We have come long ways from celebration of December 13 as Discovery Day and National Day. As we prepare for the beginning of the year 2004, let us put this year’s seasonal celebrations in the context of their coming on the eve of the 25th anniversary of our Independence.

        If a Silver Anniversary is anything to look forward to, then even more so should be our preparations for observance of the 25th anniversary of our ceremonial pulling down of the colonial flag.

        As we celebrate the Festival of Light and Renewal this year, let us therefore celebrate our children’s collective role as illuminators of the path towards a brighter future.

        Let’s allow the spirit of good will and community concern for each other to be the basis for our celebration of the spirit of togetherness of our young and growing nation.

        Season’s greetings to all.


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