Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, joyous greetings to each of you during this holiday season.
As we celebrate this season, let us first and foremost reflect on the birth of Jesus and recognise that his blessings, teachings and love are the reasons we gather with our friends and families, to give gifts, thanks and express our love and appreciation for each other.
We thank God for the many successes we in the BVI have experienced throughout the year.
We also thank God for his blessings and guiding hand through our adversities.
This year we said a final farewell to dear family members and friends. For many of us Christmas will not be the same without them but we will continue to treasure the memories and legacies they have left in our hearts.
We offer our eternal thanks to God for sparing and protecting our islands for yet another year from natural disasters. We are mindful that some of our brothers and sisters throughout the Caribbean were not so fortunate. We continue to offer our prayers as they recover and hope that they would rise up even stronger than before.
Here in the BVI we have much to be thankful that
- We continue to live in a democracy where we can express ourselves freely. In so doing though I encourage my fellow men and women to do so responsibly. We worship freely. We can go anywhere we want in this community which remains one of the safest in the region and the world.
- We all now have access to healthcare and a first class medical facility that strives to deliver quality services.
- Our children have many avenues to reach their fullest potential with access to quality education at all levels.
We continue to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to our shores, as we experience strong growth in the Tourism sector. We all should be proud that BVI continues to be a place that visitors love and where fond memories are forever etched in their minds.
- We have demonstrated good economic and financial stewardship, even in the face of mounting challenges to our core sector. We therefore thank God that our economy remains strong and resilient
- We have continued to lay the foundations for long term sustainable growth of the Virgin Islands through improvements to our critical infrastructure, environment, services and laws.
Putting in place the essential building blocks is absolutely necessary to ensure both our individual and territorial successes.
I am grateful for the support of all our citizens and residents who have shown their appreciation or shared their views on building a better BVI together.
Let me thank and commend our essential services men and women who from day to day keep us safe, namely our fire services officers, members of our police force, health services personnel, solid waste and sanitation workers, customs and immigration officers and all who continue to put the needs and safety of others above themselves. This noble commitment is a reminder of the tradition and spirit of who we are as a BVI community..
I also thank my colleagues, members of the House of Assembly, public officers and public authorities, government commissions and agencies for their support throughout the year. Together this year we have worked tirelessly to improve our services and to deliver to the people of the Virgin Islands a more prosperous society. I look forward to working with all of you in the New Year as we continue the people’s work and seek to strengthen all sectors of this economy.
It is my hope that during this period of peace and goodwill, that we will all commit ourselves to a culture of excellent service to others. That we live as one and move forward together, looking towards a productive and successful 2017.
Let me say thank you to all of you who joined me at our fourth annual Christmas around the world celebrations this year. It was indeed a joyous and uplifting occasion to see the coming together of the different cultures, signifying that we are one people, one BVI. I thank all of you that have made BVI your home and the part that you play as productive residents in our society.
We must continue to love and respect each other. We must continue to work together to rid our community of ills, crime and discord from among us.
As I look forward to 2017, I continue to be proud to be your leader. I continue to pledge my unwavering support to this country and to each of you.
My colleagues and I will continue to work without end to confront and surmount any challenges with which we are confronted. Most importantly, we will work without end and with unabated resolve to ensure that your lives .. that our people … that the BVI … grows from strength to strength.
So on behalf of My Government, my wife Lorna and our entire family I wish everyone a safe, joyous season; and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.
May God bless all of you and our home — the Virgin Islands.