2019 NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE
Happy New Year!
In bidding farewell to 2018 and welcoming 2019, I am filled with much emotion as I address you, my fellow Virgin Islanders, residents and friends, for the last time with me serving as Premier of the Virgin Islands.
In the short time we have left of my doing so, I continue to be proud to be your leader. I continue to pledge my unwavering support to this Territory and to each and every one of you.
We are at the threshold of a new year that is expected to be filled with much change. But the possibilities that exist therein are what we are encouraged to focus on. Possibilities for a better and brighter future for our beloved Territory. 2019 is the perfect time to clarify the vision.
These possibilities were clearly demonstrated to me yesterday as I sailed around the BVI. My heart was filled with joy and hope as virtually every nook and cranny was packed with both sailing and powerboats enjoying our beautiful waters and incredible beaches. I expect that our hotels will begin to rebuild in the coming months.
The rebuilding of the Virgin Islands to greater glory than its past, is the vision that has been conceived in the aftermath of the disastrous 2017 August floods and September hurricanes. It will take the work of the Government and you the citizens and residents to keep an account that ensures that this happens. The part that you play in the process of helping to shape the vision and its outcome is of equal partnership with your chosen leaders.
So this year, above any other year, is one in which you are able to step fully into your role with great awareness as to how your voice matters in constructing the thriving society that you want to live in. Throughout this past year, the demonstrations of togetherness and generosity have been seen individually and collectively, in the private sector as well as the public service.
We all saw fit to do more than was expected of us to facilitate a normalizing of the structures that make for a more comfortable living experience for us all. I am proud to have been witness to that sort of spirit and action that resulted in the progress that we have made in one short year post hurricane Irma. And if it is not too soon for me to say, Irma has stimulated in us as a people the collaborative and helpful spirit that has historically defined us.
As Virgin Islanders, we can never forget what sort of people we are.
There now exists structures that have been established to ensure that the government, all those who love the BVI, and those who live and work in the BVI will be able to fulfill the mandate of a stronger, smarter, greener, better Virgin Islands for us all.
The journey that we engage in as builders of our society will continue in 2019 and beyond. Over this next year, I look forward to seeing and hearing new and creative ways to build an improved economy with increasing numbers of entrepreneurs in the private sector.
Trade and commerce are the backbone of any well-developed society and these Virgin Islands are sure to have the infrastructure that affords us full engagement in the worldwide commercial marketplace. Our economy will continue to grow and thrive.
I recall as a young man I made a decision to enter the medical profession. It was my earnest desire to help as many as I could by way of being a physician. What a privilege that was.
However, as Premier of the Virgin Islands, you have given me the most elevated and humbling position of all, from where I did my utmost to facilitate the vision that you constructed for this beautiful Territory. It has been my greatest honour to serve in the capacity that allowed me to reach many more than I could as a doctor.
But whether we have seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my engagement with you, the people of these Virgin Islands, is what has kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better Premier, you made me a better man, and for this I am eternally grateful.
During the remainder of my tenure as Premier of the Virgin Islands, my hands will not drop as I carry on with the work of leading this Territory forward. I have only ever taken that mandate with the utmost solemnity. I thank you for the opportunity that has been afforded me.
I wish everyone greater expressions of life in this coming year and every other year to come. We are a deserving people that have demonstrated our worth over many decades through consistent growth and development. I only see improvement in our short and long term future. Let 2019 be a clear reflection of this.
Happy New Year to all of you!