Fellow Grenadians, Ladies and Gentlemen, friends.
I take this opportunity, on behalf of my family and on my own behalf, to bring you Christmas greetings and best wishes for this Yuletide season.
This time of year is important to all Christians around the world as we commemorate and rejoice in the birth of the Christ-child, Jesus, more than 2000 years ago.
Today, we recall and recognise the values that he taught us; values of truth and respect, love and compassion, brotherly kindness and sharing, as we endeavour, together, to achieve peace on earth and goodwill to all men.
It is quite evident that Christmas as we knew it, has changed significantly over the years. The sense of community that was evident as people shared whatever they had around this time of year, is not as it used to be.
The fact that we are now faced with unprecedented economic challenges only adds to that reality.
Nevertheless, we must not surrender to selfishness. Challenges and adversity afford us a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our faith and build our characters.
Accordingly, in the face of all the existing difficulties, we must make the extra effort to reach to those around us who may be less fortunate. The fact is that in 2014 we have seen more job losses than at anytime in our nation’s history.
Families that had a bread winner who was able to provide a little more at Christmas must now face the possibility of having less.
Our families in the Diaspora, that once were able to send barrels home, are in some instances unable to fulfill that tradition.
Even those at home who can still receive a barrel from friends or relatives must now find the required funds to clear them once they arrive here.
These are some of the real challenges that we face but we must not be daunted. This is still the season of goodwill and I urge us all to dig a little deeper to reach out to a neighbour this season.
We must allow the positive messages of Christ to motivate us to love freely and give generously all year round, and especially at Christmas.
We must also give consideration to those who may be from another part of the world and have chosen to be with us at Christmas. We welcome them and wish all our visitors a wonderful stay at this festive time.
We encourage all of our people, especially our youth, to be positive this season. I know for many it will be a period of experimentation but I urge you to stay clear of those things that you may regret later on in your life.
We must be aware of the impact of alcohol and other mind-altering substances on other areas of our lives, including the potential for involvement in behaviours that we may not be proud of or that may have devastating consequences.
As political leader of the National Democratic Congress I take this opportunity to wish all Grenadians at home and in the Diaspora a season of peace, reflection and a renewed determination to improve the things we have control over.
I wish all members of the NDC and all Grenadians a merry Christmas and we look forward with much anticipation and optimism to a new year, filled with hope.