My fellow Citizens and Residents of Dominica, Christmas is that time of year when we look forward to sharing greetings and best wishes with one another. It is also a time when we share special moments with family and friends. But most importantly Christmas is the period when we commemorate the birth of the Christ Child, Jesus, who was sent into this world in fulfillment of the scriptures to atone for our sins and transgressions so as to reconcile us with God our Creator.
We, therefore, should take great joy in sharing and commemorating this momentous event of the birth of our Lord and Savior.
For us here in Dominica, this Christmas Season will be one filled with mixed emotions, taking into consideration the various challenges facing us as a people and nation. In recent times, two widely discussed topics come to mind – climate change and acts of terrorism, both of which put the well-being of people of all nations at risk. It is well established that we in Dominica are prone to numerous natural hazards including those which are exacerbated by events whose frequency and severity are fueled by climate change.
We all can identify with the adverse effects of climate change which is worsening, having recently experienced the ravages of Tropical Storm Erika on our beloved country and on the lives of our brothers and sisters who were seriously affected by its impact. However, in spite of the storm, we do have a lot to be thankful for and should not be daunted at the long and difficult task of reconstruction ahead but rather be encouraged by the overwhelming support received from the Dominica Diapora communities, regional governments in the OECS and the wider CARICOM as well as international institutions and governments.
In the immediate aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika, we saw a coming together of our people of all political stripes and social standing to assist one another. Unfortunately that spirit of togetherness was short lived and we quickly returned to business as usual. The fact that Roseau and some other parts of the island were not as severely affected by Erika as were the South and South East and that the clean-up campaign in Roseau and other lightly impacted areas have created a sense of normalcy, should not minimize the lasting impact of Erika on the national infrastructure and national economy and on the lives and livelihoods of a significant number of communities from which it will take much time to recover. The need for us to continue to work together therefore remains as important today as it was in the days immediately following the passage of TS Erika.
We are also assailed daily in the news by the acts of terrorism occurring throughout the world. We must thank God for the peace and tranquility which we still enjoy here in Dominica and the region which we should never take for granted. The most recent horrendous acts of terrorism were committed on innocent citizens of France and the United States, which will linger in the hearts and minds of persons the world over. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to join the Government in condemning all acts of terrorism and for registering its support with the international community in the fight against this destructive and evil phenomenon.
As we come to the end of 2015, we should look towards the future with renewed hope and thanksgiving, know that God is in control of His world and will always protect His children. One of the things we are presently thankful for is the recent election of our very own Right Honourable Baroness Patricia Scotland, to the office of Secretary General of the Commonwealth – the first woman Secretary-General in the 84 year history of the Commonwealth. We wish her a successful tenure in office, as she prepares to take up this prestigious and hugely responsible position in the New Year.
As we enjoy the holidays and make merry, I implore you to always remember those members of the essential services who will be working during the Christmas Season in order that the rest of us can enjoy a sense of safety and security throughout the season. I refer in particular to the members of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force, the Fire and Ambulance Services, the State Prisons, the employees of the Air and Sea Ports Authority including the Customs and Immigration officers stationed there, the Doctors, Nurses and Health Care Workers, the employees of DOWASCO, etc. We should also remember in a special way, the less fortunate ones among us who may not have a decent meal; the families and friends who were seriously affected by the passage of Tropical Storm Erika; and the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives during the horrendous acts of terrorism on the Republic of France and the United States of America.
On behalf of the Government and people of Dominica, and on behalf of my wife and myself, I extend to every citizen and resident of our Fair Isle, Best Wishes for a Joyous Season and a Productive 2016, as we continue to work to rebuild our beautiful country. Let us thank God for his countless blessings over our beautiful nation.
Have yourselves a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Productive New Year!
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