My fellow Jamaicans, I extend warm greetings to you at this very special time of year when we gather to celebrate the holiday and fellowship with our family and friends.
My welcome is extended to those of you who have travelled from across the globe to be in Jamaica. I hope you will have a happy and safe holiday with good memories.
On the first Christmas a herald proclaimed: “Peace upon earth and goodwill to all people.” Today, I would like to renew that proclamation for Jamaica, and wish that it becomes applicable throughout the whole world.
You will agree with me that globally and locally, 2015 has seen a series of crises which have caused much angst and apprehension to all people.
You will also agree that we are living in perplexing times, as the challenges are simultaneously coupled with tremendous opportunities available for progress. Increasingly, we see and experience, sporadic and nerve-racking incidents causing alarm and fear. But despite these things the year has rolled around quite rapidly and it is Christmas again.
We give thanks that we are alive and can experience the love and fellowship of our family and friends. It is in this filial bond that we experience the greatest amount of comfort and support. We must therefore cherish and see our family as a great blessing. So many persons do not have that gift – the gift of family.
Our Jamaican culture allows us, however, to grow families through our communities, schools, churches, associations, organizations, at the workplace, and in other ways.
· Should provide us with the opportunity to be our best and develop to our fullest potential.
· Is the place where we assure our children and youngsters that they are safe and despite the challenges they can have a bright future. This is a wonderful time of the year to remind them of what they can achieve.
All of us, no one excluded, have a ‘duty of care’ to our fellow citizens, because we are one nation-family.
This ‘duty of care’ should not only be embedded in the story of the Good Samaritan, or in the landmark case of Donoghue vs Stephenson, but it must become a practical reality in our daily lives. My Jamaica, your Jamaica needs compassion, peace, love, sharing and caring.
These are values that make the family function effectively and harmoniously.
No one person bears that responsibility. All of us must do our part, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year, to spread peace and goodwill to all.
I hope you will accept the Christmas proclamation of peace and goodwill; and in the process, lay down the weapons of warfare, whatever they are and be at peace with each other.
In these ways the murder rate will decline, road accidents too; we will be more respectful of each other, and we can enjoy the benefits of our efforts to make Jamaica safe.
From our house to yours, Lady and I wish you ‘a merry little Christmas’ and happy holidays.