My fellow citizens and residents of our beloved St. Kitts and Nevis,
By the grace of God, we have come to the start of another new year. The Carnival festivities are drawing to a close and we are all mentally preparing ourselves for 2018 and whatever it may bring.
With humble hearts, we thank God for allowing us to see the completion of another year. His grace and mercy toward us know no bounds and as such, we must give Him thanks and praise for bestowing us with His limitless love and blessings which we often do not deserve; for “many have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and yet, His patience, love, and blessings never cease.
2017 was certainly a year to remember.
For most of us, it was not an uneventful year. Indeed, some of us underwent serious changes unlike any we had ever seen or experienced before. It was a year of disruptions in so many ways. Though our Federation was spared the full onslaughts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, many of us recorded financial losses as our properties still sustained serious damage. Even now, some of us are still grappling with the challenges of the cost of repairs and in some instances, the total replacement of irreparable commodities.
Despite the difficulties brought by both storms, we lift our hands to the heavens, thankful that lives were not lost. Always remember that things can be repaired or replaced, but a lost life is gone forever.
We saw evidence of the resulting chaos, devastation, and trauma our neighbours endured from the passage of these two fierce storms and we continue to empathise with them even as we recognise how the mighty hand of God protected us. We lift our hearts in praise to the Almighty.
2017 was not without its serious challenges for us; the loss of jobs, the financial constraints on families, the bleak economic prospects looming ahead of us.
Last year, we saw a great many injustices committed against ordinary citizens. People’s livelihoods were wilfully and unlawfully placed under direct threat in many instances. We saw our social landscape change for the worse as crime increased exponentially and total lawlessness threatened to make St. Kitts and Nevis its home. Many of us were victims of never before seen abuses of power at the hands of those charged with the leadership of this great country.
A prime example of these abuses of power would be the recent arrest of the former Supervisor of Elections on frivolous charges of failure to deliver the 2015 elections results in a timely manner. Contradicting this nonsensical charge is the fact that the elections report was presented to His Excellency the Governor-General who within two days after the elections, had appointed a new Prime Minister.
This type of abuse is typical of dictatorial fascist regimes of the past.
The observation of this and ample other abuses of power caused many of our people to succumb to stress, strain and illness, the vagaries of life on earth during the year, passing eternally into The Great Beyond.
I would like to encourage our youth, especially those currently engaged in the pursuit of higher education. Yours is a path that though often littered with difficulties, leads to the sweet fruits of success in the end. To those who have opted to enter the world of work, I urge you to pursue a level of professionalism that is second to none. Create and maintain a solid reputation for yourself in the working world for at the end of the day, a good name travels much further than riches.
To the mothers and fathers who diligently work to provide for their families, I extend words of congratulations, pride and solidarity. In spite of the many difficulties you face – financial and otherwise, your resilience and faith are unwavering. You are the original building blocks of our societies as your shining examples of love, care and attention serve to influence our young, fashioning them into socially responsible and civil men and women.
I wish at this time to extend words of congratulations to the Concerned Citizens Movement for emerging the victors of the recently contested Nevis Island Elections. I also wish to congratulate the new leader of the CCM and Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley, and wish him success in the term ahead.
The former leader of the CCM, Hon. Vance Amory, must also be recognised for his years of leadership and service that he dedicated to the people of Nevis. As a founding member of the CCM, his legacy is sure to live on through the works of the party’s new leadership.
I also wish to express words of solidarity to Hon. Joseph Parry, the now former leader of the Nevis Reformation Party. Mr. Parry’s conviction as a Nevisian and a politician is among the strongest that I know. He stood for ageless principles that are critical to the integrity of our societies. I thank him most graciously for his many years of service and the extensive contribution to the overall development of Nevis and the Federation on a whole.
May his legacy live on and serve as an immortal example of stellar leadership and citizenship.
Throughout 2017, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party was fervently engaged in a process of candidate selection as well as succession planning. All this was undertaken with the aim of bringing to the fore fresh young capable minds eager to serve and able to perpetuate the Party’s philosophy of service to humanity, fairness, peace, progress and prosperity. They must never fail to appreciate that the fruits of this land and the prosperity that we look for with hope and high expectations must be fairly distributed for all and not just for a selected few, their families, and the families of those in power. This is a principle that they must imbue as they prepare themselves for greater service to our country.
As we look forward to 2018 and beyond, let us commit ourselves to be disciplined and courageous so that with the help of God, we might lift each other up, and in so doing, lift our nation to heights we have known before. Let us in particular in the upcoming year look our for our senior citizens, those who laid the foundation of our nation. Let us take care of those who raised us and our parents so that we could be productive citizens in this land that they have bequeathed to us. Let us remember to be kind to those without sight or hearing or soundness of mind.
Let us remember to protect and lend support to those who fall victim of sexual abuse, whether in our communities, in corporate or government offices and those who fall victim criminal activities.
Let us look out for those in need. This is what good citizenship is all about for it is in this way that we will build a better St. Kitts and Nevis not only for this generation, but also for generations to come.
Happy New Year and may God bless us all!