Governor’s Christmas Message 2017
Christmas is a celebration!
I thought hard about those first four words. I paused because it may be difficult for some of us, after the events of the last few months to see this Christmas as a time for celebration. We still mourn and remember those we lost during the storms and pray for their families as they approach this time of togetherness without their loved ones. I know many in these Islands face this Christmas having lost possessions, experienced damage to their homes or be living elsewhere, separated from family, or without electricity. These are undeniably hard and challenging times and I hope we all reflect on and pray for those who are suffering.
But, in thinking about those first four words I did recognise that this is a special time for many of us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Because, despite the difficulties of the last months, we do have many reasons to celebrate.
A celebration that we are thankful to be alive after what we have experienced.
A celebration that we have stayed strong and resilient, despite what we have faced.
A celebration that we live in a beautiful environment.
And a celebration that in the midst of hardship, we have shown that we can come together as a community tosupport each other.
This is my first Christmas message as Governor and I use this opportunity to reflect on the momentous events of recent months that have changed all of us who lived through them. I will never forget the experience of two devastating hurricanes which impacted our beautiful islands. And I will never forget the inspiration and resilience of the people of these Islands, seeing communities come together to rebuild: businesses, voluntary organisations, individuals and public servants all working together to get us back on our feet. We also welcomed many from overseas to support us, including the British military and United Kingdom, Cayman and Bermudan police officers.
As our recovery took shape we were also privileged to welcome His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales to our shores. I know also thatHer Majesty The Queen’s thoughts and prayers continue to be with us.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you and to pay tribute to all those who have helped us and will continue to help in the many months to come. The many organisations, businesses and individuals in the Virgin Islands who have contributed and continue to contribute their time, effort, and service for the good of the community. The values of giving, sharing and caring are a part of what makes the Virgin Islands the special place that it continues to be.
In the short time that I and my family have been here, it is what makes us proud to call these islands our home.
This season is customarily a time of giving, where we remember the importance of doing what we can to help those who are less fortunate. I was honoured to host the traditional Children’s Party at Government House for the children of the Eslyn Henley Richez Learning Centre, the Rainbow Children’s Home, the Autism Centre and the adults of the Social Development’s BVI Services. It was a real pleasure to see the joy andexcitement on the faces of everyone present. This year my team in the Governor’s Office decided to change ourtraditional Christmas party plans and instead contribute to a community project in Jost Van Dyke.
So as I conclude, I encourage us all to pause and reflect on what we faced, but also to celebrate that we have emerged stronger. We can take this strength and the spirit of Christmas care and love for our fellows with us into the New Year as we continue to support each other. 2018 will present its own challenges as we work together to rebuild these beautiful Islands; our recovery will take every bit of our resilience and our fortitude and there will undoubtedly be setbacks along the way but I know that by facing the challenge together we will build back better.
May we continue to be united as we work together to rebuild these beautiful Virgin Islands.
May God continue to bless us all in this Territory this Christmas and beyond.
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.