Love And Good Neighbourliness
By Dr. The Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves
Prime Minister Of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
PEACE, LOVE AND SHARING
I greet everyone in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas Day. Traditionally, our Christmas season is marked with the plea of “peace on earth and goodwill to all men and women”. In that context we urge that in our words and deeds we demonstrate utmost love and good neighborliness to all our fellow human beings. I especially call for an outpouring of love and caring for those who are indigent, marginalised or suffering from illness. The elderly and the children deserve, too, very special consideration at this the season of giving and sharing.
PUT ASIDE DIVISIONS
I know that in our society there is much unity and love mixed with divisions and even hatreds. Let us try to put aside any divisiveness whether based on politics, religion, family and business skirmishes. If each of us makes an effort in this regard I am sure that we would all feel better and our nation would be more peaceful, united, and loving. It is not beyond us. Let us sincerely pray for these desirable outcomes and let us act accordingly.
Between now and the New Year let each of us try harder to be better human beings and citizens. I am hopeful that the radio stations, the newspapers, and the mass media generally would lessen the rhetoric of divisiveness and the politics of personal destruction. Generally-speaking this kind of divisiveness and personal animosities make no sense whatsoever particularly in a small village-state like St. Vincent and the Grenadines. At Christmas time it is simply unacceptable. We must make every effort to stop it.
LET US HAVE MUCH LESS CRIME
In our midst are a tiny minority of persons who use the Christmas festivities as a cloak or an occasion to steal, rob, and commit crimes of violence generally and against women in particular. If such persons are hearing my voice, I plead with them to stay away from their criminal activities which hurt innocent people and the criminals themselves. Let us all try very hard to make this Christmas season as crime-free as possible. Families, peer groups, churches, the media, the Police and the Law Courts all have major roles to play in this regard.
Traditionally, we eat and drink too much at Christmas time. Too often, too much alcohol is consumed. And then some of us drink and drive, a most dangerous combination. Let us all be moderate and responsible in our conduct, especially at this time. In short, let us be on our best behaviour.
MESSAGE ABOUT PERSONAL CONDUCT
I am not offering a message this year with any politics in it; I am not emphasising anything to do with the economy or any of the usual controversial subjects. I am simply asking all of us to examine our personal conduct, do better, and live a good life of love and respect for each other. This would represent an individual and national cleansing, redemption and reconciliation.
MY CHRISTMAS JOURNEY
I shall be away from St. Vincent and the Grenadines from December 17, 2001 to January 03, 2012, a total of two weeks, but in reality eight or so working days. I shall be travelling to London, to Bethlehem, to the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Georgia, both of which helped us generously after Hurricane Tomas. The visit to Bethlehem is a spiritual journey to the birthplace of Jesus Christ at the invitation of the President of the Palestinian Authority, His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas. My visits to London, Georgia and Azerbaijan constitute important business on behalf of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. On my way to Bethlehem I shall stop in Jordan.
I wish all Vincentians, at home and abroad, a holy, happy, loving Christmas and a prosperous 2012. I extend my hand of friendship, peace and goodwill to the Leader of the Opposition, his party and supporters at this the season of our Lord’s birth. As always, loving Christmas greetings go out to our Labour family and our nation as a whole.
May Almighty God continue to bless us all!