Christmas Message 2017
Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool
Minister for Communications and Works
4th District Representative
2017 will go down in the history of the Virgin Islands as being a most memorable year.
We can choose to remember these 12 months for the negative moments, or we can choose to highlight the successes, accomplishments and other high points and positive moments we’ve experienced.
Either way, we can all reflect at this time and give thanks to God for sparing our lives one more year.
Being an optimist myself, I choose to look at the upside of life and I want to use this opportunity to encourage you to do the same.
We have all lived long enough to know that life comes with its challenges, but how we respond to these challenges can make or break us.
For us as the Territory of the Virgin Islands, we experienced the worst natural disaster in recent history with the passage of Hurricane Irma on September 6th.
After being spared for decades, the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season descended on us with a fury, also bringing severe flooding which did serious damage to our infrastructure into the billions of dollars.
This is unprecedented, but our Government has risen to the challenge and we are doing everything possible to recover.
You have seen the progress and you have heard the updates as we forge ahead.
I am aware of the emotional trauma to many residents brought on by these weather events.
I know that many of you are still trying to process what has happened and struggling to get your lives back to some level of normalcy.
My message to you at this time is one of hope.
Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
That certain thing we are hoping for as a people of these beautiful Virgin Islands, is for us to stay strong and resilient as we rebuild, as we jointly participate in the process.
The BVI will rise again, as we are #BVIStrong.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is easy to be hopeful when everything is going well.
But I want to suggest to you today, that everyone can have this hope, even during suffering and despite difficult circumstances.
During this Christmas Season, as Christians (and the BVI is a largely Christian society), we are called on to reflect even more so on the hope that the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gives to us.
He is our model, who has taught us to be authentic and yes resilient.
BVIslanders, residents and friends, we can continue to look to Him to ease our anxieties and bring us contentment, we can count on Him to provide for our needs and we can count on Him to give all of us wisdom to do the things which are right in His sight.
So as we come to the close of another year, I look back and note with sadness the many persons who started out 2017 who are not here with us today.
I express condolences to those who lost loved ones over the past few months.
To those who are sick, we remember you in prayer.
To those who have been temporarily displaced because of the hurricanes or are otherwise seeking jobs, keep hope alive.
Your Government is at work for you and we can all look forward to a better 2018.
Whatever your circumstance, remember, life is what you make it.
You determine and chart the course of your future with God’s help.
I join in wishing you all a very Merry Christmas 2017 and a Bright and Prosperous New Year 2018 when it comes around.
So, Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa or Happy Hanukkah!