Citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat and Montserratians overseas, I bring you warm greetings and well wishes as we celebrate this special day; Christmas is a time when we as a Christian community join with others across the world in celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Christmas is always extra special for us here on Montserrat, especially as we welcome home family members and friends— some we have not seen for years.
But as we meet together in merriment, let us remember persons in our communities who through no fault of their own, are unable to enjoy a meal this Christmas day. I urge you to let the spirit of Christmas extend beyond your immediate family and friends, and put into practice that great commandment which admonishes us to “love our neighbours as ourselves”, and not only for today, but on a regular basis.
In celebrating, we must reflect on and be thankful for all of the blessings which have been showered upon us throughout this year, and be reminded that it is God’s mercies that speared us from the wrath of hurricanes and other natural hazards. For this, we are thankful.
Today we remember others in our Region, who were not so lucky. We especially remember our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas, for some, Christmas this year will not be the same—we hold them up in our thoughts and prayers.
For many of you at home and abroad, there is that empty chair, a reminder that some of our loved ones who started 2019 with us are no longer here. We share your loss, we cherish their memories and hold them dearly in our hearts.
I pause at this time to express my gratitude to you the people of this beautiful country, who saw it fit to grant my colleagues and I, the opportunity to lead this beloved land. We are deeply honoured and will govern the affairs of this island with integrity, honesty, fairness, and respect for all as we chart the way forward in the best interest of Montserrat and its people.
As leaders, my colleagues and I will be expected to make decisions, some are necessary to move the development of this island forward.
We have been meeting with our public servants, technicians and other key stakeholders including those in the private sector, and we have been receiving updates that are crucial to understanding what exists, and how best to implement our vision for Montserrat’s development. We can assure you that we plan to build on the projects already in progress, and at the same time roll out some key priority areas.
Job creation is one of my government’s key priorities if we are to improve livelihoods, and retain and expand the population which is vital for economic growth, Montserrat will never be viable if we depend solely on aid funding. So, in the months ahead, we will reach out beyond the boundaries of aid financing, seeking to attract investment and encourage growth in the private sector.
Our health care and education systems are under severe pressure, rest assured that my ministers and I are cognizant of the condition in both sectors, and will be working with the various stake holders in the new year to improve the conditions under which our nurses and teachers work; while at the same time work to create a better learning environment for our children.
These are just a few of the areas which my government will be embarking on as we move forward in the New Year.
Sisters and brothers, as the spirit of Christmas brings us together as a people and as a nation, so too should this spirit of togetherness continue throughout 2020.
My wish is that we will all unite and work towards the betterment of this land. Together we can create the Montserrat that our children, grandchildren and generations after them can be proud of and can enjoy. Together we will make this a reality.
Once again, let us celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in a spirit of love, joy, peace and hope— which symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ.
On behalf of the Government of Montserrat, my wife and my entire family, I wish each and every one, a happy and safe Christmas and God’s continued blessings in 2020.
God Bless You and God Bless Montserrat.