House of Assembly
Public Holidays
Release Date:
Friday, 23 December 2016 - 11:10am



Hello Virgin Islands, I am Marlon Penn… Junior Minister for Trade, Investment and Consumer Affairs and Representative for the Eighth District.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the visitors and residents of the Virgin Islands and their families, especially those in District 8, a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2017. 

I wish to personally express my sincere gratitude… and thanks… to the people of District 8… for instilling their trust and support in me as their Representative in the House of Assembly.  

I look forward to us working closely together in 2017 as we forge ahead with building our community.

I also take this opportunity to wish the Director and staff of the Department of Trade and their respective families a new year filled with abundant blessings and sincere thanks for your support over the past year.

I look forward to us working to strengthen and better support our entrepreneurs and the Business Sector within the Virgin Islands,  as their survival is vital the strength of our economy.    

Throughout the year, we endured threats to one of our economic pillars; Financial Services, but with our Premier steadily guiding us on a roadmap to promote this industry, we were able to maintain a relatively stable economy. Thanks be to God for His blessings.  

We have made it to the end of the year with cruise tourism steadily on the rise and plans are in motion to create new Investment opportunities for our people. In 2017, we will work diligently to continue strengthening both economic pillars, as we simultaneous work to develop new ones.

No matter the circumstances you may have personally experienced in 2016, I pray that you are able to overcome any challenges, obstacles, failures and tragedies with renewed strength.  I urge you to remember the encouraging words from the scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:13: - “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

For the journey that lies ahead for us as a Territory and a people requires us to bear all of those traits: preparedness, commitment, courage; strength and most of all, it requires us to have faith- the kind of faith our forefathers had when they were warned that nothing good economically would be derived from these beautiful islands – that our Virgin Islands would become nothing more than a bird sanctuary. They were urged that they would be better off abandoning this Territory; their home.

But through faith, hard work and vision, our forefathers built the foundation on which our territory stands today.

The kind of faith founding fathers, H. Lavity Stoutt, Dr. Willard Wheatley, Lesley Malone and others placed in our people, when they invested limited financial resources in our education, because they understood  that education is an investment that yields the greatest return in the long run.   

Moreover, it is the kind of faith   that those leaders had in their people… By appointing persons in leadership positions, to be the driving force behind our two economic pillars.

The economic transformation and prosperity of the financial services and tourism industries…, are evident in the Virgin Islands today….! as a direct result of the faith our predecessors displayed in its people.  

So, I urge you this holiday season to be encouraged…, but most of all… be aware of the Doom Sayers…, preaching their message of doom and destruction. Do not allow them to consume your spirit…., and do not allow yourselves to become their messenger of fear and destruction.  Proverbs 18:21 reads: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  

We must continuously strive to be like our forefathers… when others saw hopelessness and despair…, they saw hope and endless possibilities for a brighter Virgin Islands.

So my Holiday wish to you…, is to hold true the things that have made us uniquely Virgin Islanders:

  • Our love and adoration for family, friends and loved ones
  • Our hospitable nature towards our neighbors, visitors and wider Virgin Islands community.
  • And most of all, our resiliency, faith…, and trust in God…, which will renew our spirit for the journey ahead in 2017 and beyond, as we work collectively to strengthen and build our beloved Virgin Islands, into the great nation it is destined to be.

Let us not forget the less fortunate amongst us and let us remember and honour those we have lost.  Let us also cherish those who are with us and not take life for granted; for the Christmas season should be enjoyed with the love of family and friends.

I encourage you to embrace the journey into 2017 with vigor and purpose.  Be motivated in everything you do! Set goals and achieve those goals!.., And let the failures of yesteryear be stepping stones to success in 2017!

So Again, t o all visitors and residents, especially those residing in District 8, ….I pray that God’s love surrounds your families and this beloved Territory.  May every cup overflow with rich blessings…this Christmas and always… Happy Holidays!