Fellow Virgin Islanders, Residents and Friends, a very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. Whether you are viewing my greetings by television, listening by radio or online, I wish you peace, joy, good health and happiness.
In celebrating this Christmas, let us reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The One who has shown us how to care for each other, and how to be compassionate to everyone who crosses our paths, whether they are family members, coworkers, friends or strangers.
May we embrace the spirit of caring, sharing, love and generosity that the Christmas season ignites within our hearts. In celebrating the most wonderful time of the year, let us be thoughtful and kind towards our fellow man. Be a good Samaritan to an elderly or differently-abled neighbor.
Help to put a smile on someone’s face and support local Christmas food drives by giving a few items from your grocery list.
I know that we all share a genuine desire to help each other and build a better Virgin Islands for current and future generations. As we enjoy the various seasonal festivities, let us pledge to continue to embrace a culture of appreciation, respect and tolerance for each other.
I also take this opportunity to convey my sincere appreciation and gratitude to every Virgin Islander and resident for your contributions towards the progress and development of our Home; and for your confidence in my Government throughout the year.
We have so much to be thankful for as a community. We were again spared from major natural disasters this Hurricane Season. However, we were able to lend a helping hand, both financially and with technical support, to two of our Caribbean neighbors – Dominica and Bahamas - in their rebuilding efforts.
We continue to take a zero tolerance approach to crime in our society. My Government asks that the community continues to support this cause as we endeavor to build a safer BVI for all.
In looking back at 2015, the Territory has achieved a number of goals. Some highlights include the creation of more green space in Road Town with the completion of the Queen Elizabeth II Park, to be officially opened in the first quarter of 2016; and, in protecting our tourism and economic industries, we successfully managed air access into and out of the Territory.
We are meticulously building our infrastructure and have made significant progress rebuilding our road network.
The year also saw the completion of the first phase of the Tortola Pier Park and the opening of our expanded cruise pier. In caring for the health of the population, we have started the registration process for our National Health Insurance System. These are but a few of our accomplishments.
Yes, we encountered a few challenges along the way, but my Government has remained committed to improving the quality of life for the people of the Virgin Islands. We will continue to do so into the New Year as we look forward to a better 2016!
My heartfelt thanks to all of you who joined me at our third annual Christmas around the World festivities last Saturday. I am always delighted with our celebration of diverse cultures in the BVI - the food displays, the various national dresses, the musical selections and everything that makes it such an extraordinary multi-cultural experience.
It demonstrates that although we hail from many nationalities and cultures around the world, we remain united in our love for the Territory. I pray that this spirit of unity will continue throughout the year as we remember that the BVI is our home; we are one people, and one Territory.
In celebrating the season of togetherness, let us remember those who have lost loved ones. This year we said goodbye to a few of our centenarians; business pioneers and stalwarts. In my Office, we lost a devoted and beloved coworker, Mrs. Dian Liburd, who was especially talented in coordinating Christmas around the world. I pray that God would bring comfort to their families and friends who will miss them most in the midst of their Christmas celebrations
In closing, I thank those in our essential services who work tirelessly and around the clock to keep us safe and healthy. We appreciate you and pray that God will continue to bless and strengthen you.
I take this opportunity to publicly thank all my colleagues, all members of the House of Assembly, public officers and public authorities, government commissions and other agencies for your support during 2015. I look forward to working with you in the New Year as we continue to secure our future, and maintain the success of all sectors of our economy.
On behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands and my wife Lorna, I wish each of you an enjoyable holiday season, filled with the blessings and great expectations of a bright, healthy and prosperous 2016!