By :Carol Phillips
Basseterre, St Kitts, 23 December 2014: It is that time of the year again and at this special Happy and Holy Time of the year, the Jamaican Kittitian (JamKit) Association, the Association of Jamaicans and friends of Jamaicans living in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, sends heartfelt greetings to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. Although our countries are separated by water, there is so much that we have in common, that make us at times “as one”. Although there are some cultural differences the major religion is both countries is Christianity and as such Christmas is a very special times for our two countries, albeit Carnival is not celebrated at the same time in Jamaica. At Christmas time we remember the real reason for the season. We make special efforts to visit and share with family and friends and more than ever wish for peace and goodwill towards all.
This past year has gone like a whirlwind and we now find ourselves once more with the cooler weather, an additional hive of activities in the town centres here and in Jamaica, more pulsating music and the scents of fruit cake baking, special meats cooking, sorrel drinks on the table and all those other things which hail the Christmas Season in the Caribbean.
We must acknowledge that our two countries have had a good number of things for which to give God thanks over this year. The hurricane season was thankfully not as harrowing and stressful for our two countries as it has been in previous years, although we have to acknowledge that in the wider Caribbean, Bermuda in particular was badly affected and we trust that they have sufficiently recovered to be able to enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends.
We are grateful for the progress which our Caribbean countries have made during this past year despite some areas of special concern in the various economies. Despite these challenges, our people can still find reasons to be joyful at this time.
We are heartened by the momentous decision taken by President Barack Obama of the United States in consultation with President Raoul Castro of Cuba which will lead to improved relations between these two countries. We are happy for the Cuban people and trust that the lives of the ordinary people of Cuba will be significantly improved in time, given these first steps. We are aware that, like Jamaica, the people of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the Caribbean Region have always had a desire to see improved relations between these two countries and an improved lot for the Cuban people. While we rejoice for and with them we are mindful that we will now face additional competition in various sectors especially the tourism sector. Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis and the other Caribbean countries, will need to work harder and be extraordinarily innovative in creating greater and better niche markets to ensure that we maintain our share of the tourism business.
As in years past, JamKit in its effort to make a positive contribution here in St. Kitts and Nevis has continued to work with several service organizations through its members individually and in groups who continue to assist in various organizations with more recently two (2) members of the Jamkit Association being instrumental in establishing the first Support Group for Persons With Alzheimer’s Disease and their caregivers in the Federation.
In closing, we trust that the Season will be happy, peaceful and healthy for all. As we move into the unknown that 2015 presents, we pray that our Caribbean communities will continue to see a reduction in activities that are detrimental to our communities. We also pray that humanity, equity and justice will reign throughout the Region and that the good Lord will continue to bless us all as we give thanks for Christmas and look hopefully towards a Blessed New Year.
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Productive and Prosperous New Year to the citizens and residents of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis!