Prime Minister attacks NEW TODAY once again

Prime Minister and Minister of Information, Dr. Keith Mitchell has once again launched a scathing attack on the weekly NEW TODAY newspaper slamming it as a “scandal sheet”.

During his wrap of the 2017 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in the Lower House of Parliament last week Tuesday, Dr. Mitchell told Parliament that this newspaper should not be printing, accusing it of not being legal.

“It (NEW TODAY) should not even be printing because the courts ordered them closed down, but they opened another… Some of us don’t obey laws, we don’t obey courts, we get away with it. The poor man must obey everything, that’s why when people talk about justice it is not fair,” he said.

PM Mitchell referred to an article in the newspaper which he said claimed that he did everything to stop former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Brian Francis from landing a top job at the OECS Secretariat earlier this year.

“No citizen of any country in the region can receive a job at the regional level or international level, unless they check with the government of the day. It cannot happen,” he told the sitting of the Lower House.

Dr. Mitchell said he was called by a regional organisation which informed him that Dr. Francis was interviewed for an opening and they were willing to employ him but needed to get the approval of the Grenadian leader.

He spoke of Dr. Francis as one who was historically hostile to him and the ruling New National Party (NNP).

According to PM Mitchell, it is well known that based on some problems at the Ministry of Finance, the former Permanent Secretary was fired.

“He went to court and the court ruled in the government’s favour. I don’t hold things against people. It’s well known that life is too short for us to keep holding on to things that happened 20 years ago and 30 years ago, we have to learn to forgive,” he said.

Dr. Mitchell said he took some time to respond to the request coming from the regional organisation because “I wasn’t sure the individual (Dr. Francis) can change, but I said give him a chance.”

“I gave qualified support… so the individual was hired, but I see in that scandal sheet (NEW TODAY) that I did everything to stop it, and how they ignored me and employed the gentleman. It’s quite amazing the falsehood that are preached outside there,” he told Parliament.

During his early return to government after the 2013 General Election, Dr. Mitchell took a swipe at THE NEW TODAY accusing it of being “bigger than the law in the country”.

“The court said you cannot publish, but … you temporary close down, print another name and continue a scandal sheet,” he said back then.

The Grenadian leader also lead a broadside against Statutory bodies that placed advertisements in the paper back then.

“When people are using a scandal sheet to damage other people and they seem to be getting away with it, and they even have Government Departments sending ads in that illegal entity, and I say that is fundamentally wrong, that means the government itself is taking part in an immoral act, and I’m not happy that I am Head of a Government participating in an immoral act, advertising in an illegal piece of document,” he said.

THE NEW TODAY is known to be a duly-registered newspaper in the Supreme Court Registry.

A recent poll conducted by a reputable outfit showed that THE NEW TODAY was the leading newspaper in the country and way ahead of two others that are known to be aligned to Mitchell’s NNP regime.

The Prime Minister also took a swipe at former Finance Minister and current Congress leader, Nazim Burke.

He said that although his government will never stop a qualified Grenadian who gets an opportunity to serve a regional or international institution, he did it in one case.

According to him, in 2014 while attending a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting he was asked by the Commonwealth Secretariat for his approval for Sen. Burke to be provided with the job as an Assistant Secretary General.

“I said no… the man is a Political Leader, and we support proper governance. I can’t afford to let the Leader of the Opposition party go and serve outside and make it almost a one-party State, let the man stay,” PM Mitchell said.

Burke has responded to the statement, saying that after the results of the 2013 poll that he had applied for several jobs in and out of Grenada since he had to provide for his family.

He said he was not even the leader of Congress when the application was sent in connection with the Commonwealth position that was on offer.

The Opposition figure accused Dr. Mitchell of trying to give the nation the impression that he (Burke) was planning to abandon Congress.

Queen’s award winner encourages more Grenadians to apply

29 year-old Michael Thomas, from Grand Anse St. George, who is one of 60 persons from the Commonwealth who will be receiving the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award in June 2017, is urging Grenadians to apply for the award before the programme ends in 2018.

Michael Thomas, the second Grenadian to receive the Queen’s Young Leaders award

Michael Thomas, the second Grenadian to receive the Queen’s Young Leaders award

The Queen’s Young Leaders programme commenced in 2013 and will run for a period of four years. A total of 120 persons will be presented with the award before the programme ends.

“I want more Grenadians to apply for this opportunity because it’s the last year (and) we have a lot of youth leaders who are doing a lot of work and I don’t only want their work to be recognised, but, I want people to see that Grenada can battle among the best in terms of youth leaders, as individuals who really have a passion and a joy for the work they do,” Thomas told THE NEW TODAY in an interview last week Wednesday.

Thomas is “urging all youth leaders who fall between the age range of 18 – 29, to look at your work and if you think you are eligible then you apply.”

“It should be viewed as an opportunity to further your work and really show what you have been doing to make a positive impact in the country,” he added.

Applications for the 2017 Queen Young Leaders award will commence online via social media in June 2017.

The programme chooses its winners based on their achievement to date.

According to Thomas, the application form can be accessed on the “Queen’s Young Leaders Facebook account page at Queen’s Young Leaders on their official website, queensyoungleaders.com and their twitter account, @queenyoungleaders.”

He urged interested persons to research the programme, as well as to get better acquainted with the application process and what the programme is all about.

The Grand Anse resident, who has over nine years worth of work in the area of sexual reproductive health rights advocacy underneath his belt, is the second Grenadian to be selected to receive the award.

The first was NDC Caretaker for St. George North-west constituency and youth advocate, Ali Dowden who was one of the 60 persons to receive the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2015.

The 2016 application process saw a total of 3000 applicants from countries around the world from which Thomas was one of the 60 winners selected.

“Knowing that I was successful in receiving one of those 60 spots, I feel honoured to have been recognised for my work and it is a good feeling to know that I have beat out a total of 2940 applicants from around the world to win this spot,” he declared.

Thomas has been working along with sexual reproductive health rights advocacy group GrenCHAP since the age of 16 and now sits on the Board of Directors.

He began to explore his passion in terms of sexual reproductive health rights and to date has been heavily engaged in sharing his knowledge about the prevention of sexual diseases by promoting condom use in various communities across the island.

Outside of that, he has had the opportunity to sit as the Chair for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Youth Advisory Group (YAG), for almost three years.

He also represented Grenada,  GrenCHAP, and UNFPA at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, held during the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2015, as a youth panelist during a special session on HIV/AIDS.

Additionally, Thomas had the opportunity to participate in the Atlantic Dialogue and Emerging Leaders Programme of the United States-based German Marshall Fund (GMF) and the World Conference on Youth in Colombo, Sri Lanka in May 2014.

He also participated in the International HIV/AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa in July.

According to Thomas, the Queen’s Young Leaders awards programme would provide this year’s winners with one year mentorship and training, which is set to commence in January 2017.

Thomas, who is expected to leave the island in June 2017, to complete a one-week residency in England, which will comprise more training and mentorship sessions said, when he applied for the Queen’s Young Leader Award in September, it was viewed as “an opportunity to further his work, learn and adopt as a person in society.”

Additionally, during the one-week residency, Thomas along with the other 59 awardees would have the opportunity “to visit the Twitter headquarters and the BBC news room” and at the end of the residency they will visit Buckingham Palace where they would receive their awards from the Queen herself.

Grenadian student tops FCCA poster competition

For the first time ever, a Grenadian student, Cherise Blanche of the St. Andrew Anglican Secondary School (SAASS), has taken the top prize in the annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Poster competition.

Winners and finalists with Captain of the ship, Bob Oliver, other crew members, Minister Curwen, GTA representative, principal and teacher of the recognised schools

Winners and finalists with Captain of the ship, Bob Oliver, other crew members, Minister Curwen, GTA representative, principal and teacher of the recognised schools

Blanche received a US $3000 cheque for taking first place in the senior category of the poster competition for creatively showing ways to protect the environment by turning discarded items like tyres and cardboard into planters and storage containers in her poster, “Eliminate the Trash, Embrace the Future.”

The cheque was handed over at a short ceremony on board the Royal Princess cruise ship which was part of the top prize – an opportunity for the winner to be part of a site visit on one of the cruise ships owned by the company on a visit to the island.

The winner was accompanied to the ceremony by Principal of SAASS, Abel Jeffrey who also received a cheque of US $3000 to go towards purchasing supplies for the school.

Grenada had another student in the finals of the junior competition – Leah Alexander of St. Andrew Methodist School and she received a cheque for US $200.

The student taking first place in the junior category hails from Jamaica.

Students were also encouraged to partake in the Essay Competition, expressing their views through 500 words under the topic, “If you were a cruise passenger, what would you want to see and do in your destination?”

Two finalists from Grenada were recognised – Carina Blanche in the senior division and Brianna Lewis in the Junior Division. They both received a cheque for US $200.00.

The winners of those respective competitions came from Belize in the junior division and St. Maarten in the senior category.

Caribbean students were given a chance to be winners of the FCCA poster competition using the theme, “Reuse, Recycle, Renew the Caribbean.”

The competition prompts students to create a poster depicting ways to protect the environment and to promote awareness in the country.

This year’s contest featured finalists from the 12 Caribbean and Latin American destinations ranging from juniors; ages 12 and younger to seniors 13 to 16.

In speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Tourism, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen said she was extremely proud of the students and what they have achieved for the island as a result of the competition.

“It is my absolute pleasure to be here today to congratulate our nation’s youth on the success that their hard-earned work has resulted in and their proof of dedication to the task that was set to them…I am extremely impressed that the culture and discipline that were instilled in them brought them to where they are”, she remarked.

“…Our nation’s teachers and parents who are also represented here today must be congratulated on the role that they would have played in the successes of those shining stars but I am particularly pleased that the FCCA chose a very important topic – environment. It is so important, we must recycle, we must reuse, and we must respect our environment to ensure that it is healthy and pristine for us but very importantly for the generations to come after us,” she said.

The minister thanked the Princess Cruise Lines for the role they have been playing in developing Grenada’s cruise industry and encouraged the owners to continue keeping an interest in the Isle of Spice.

Farmers to be compensated before Christmas

Ninety-seven farmers in the parishes of St. Andrew and St. Patrick, who were significantly affected due to the freak weather system that occurred last month, can now breathe a sigh of relief as a special ceremony is being planned before the Christmas holiday to compensate them for at least half of their losses.

Speaking to reporters last week Friday, Minister for Agriculture, Yolande Bain-Horsford said the total value of the damages was estimated at “EC$400, 000 plus,” and that due to financial constraints, the government has agreed to generate the monies from an “emergency fund that the government has.”

The female Agriculture Minister said, “a ceremony (is being planned for) sometime next week and we would invite them all to come and collect their cheques.”

Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, who did not provide a detailed analysis in announcing the compensation package in his 2017 Budget statement, told reporters in an interview after the presentation, that “the farmers know that government could not pay everything that was estimated so we agreed to pay 50% (of the damages sustained) to all the farmers because we know some of them invested in short crops production for Christmas”.

“So we felt that we should give them payments before Christmas,” Dr. Mitchell added.

The farmers reportedly lost most of their Christmas crops such as sorrel and pigeon peas in places like Pointzfeild, River Sallee, Madeys and Chambord in St Patrick and La Poterie, Blaize, Mt. Horne, Mirabeau, Pearls, La Fillette, Paradise, Tivoli, Dumfermline and Paraclete in St. Andrew.

Additionally, at least nine farmers suffered damages to their irrigation systems due top the bad weather.

During a post-Cabinet press briefing held last month, the Agriculture Minister reported that some “houses were also damaged during the heavy rainfall” and that the “Ministry of Housing (had embarked on) an assessment to determine the damages sustained.”

Minister Bain-Horsford announced that the Ministry of Works had approached the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for funding support” for those affected.

Sen. Burke: Grenada should not remember Dr. Mitchell as a Conman

Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke has reacted sharply to the admission made in Parliament last week by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of blocking a job opportunity he had applied for at the Commonwealth.

While concluding the debate of the 2017 budget in the Lower House of Parliament, Dr. Mitchell told his Parliamentarians that he gave the thumbs down to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s request of him to approve a job for Sen. Burke.

In his reaction to the statement made by the Prime Minister, the Congress leader said after his party lost the 2013 General Elections, a number of ex-officials went into job-hunting in order to support themselves and their families.

He spoke of applying to many schools and institutions, locally, regionally and internationally, including St. George’s University (SGU) seeking employment.

Sen. Burke who confessed to applying for the Commonwealth job said that in August 2013 he received a call from a friend at the Commonwealth Secretariat who informed him of a job opening as Deputy Secretary-General in charge of economic development, and who encouraged him to apply for the position.

“I sent in the application, it left Grenada – I think it was the eighth or ninth of September 2013; we’re not talking about today. At that time… it is public knowledge that I was not the Leader of the National Democratic Congress, I was just the Deputy Leader,” he said.

Sen. Burke became Political Leader of the NDC in February 2014.

The Congress leader said that after hearing nothing with respect to the application, he assumed that someone else had been considered for the job.

According to Burke, PM Mitchell tried to convince the nation in his address to close the 2017 budget debate that the application was current and not done back in September 2013.

“He lied to the nation and told the nation this application was made while I was Leader of the Party, which is totally untrue. The message he was trying to send out… was that I was trying to run out of the country… He wanted to create a sense among the populace, and among the NDC membership and supporters that they were in an unstable situation, their Leader himself was looking to run out, was looking for jobs and opportunities outside (of Grenada), he did (not) believe in the country, he did not care about the country, he did not care about the future of the party,” he said.

The Congress Leader charged that this shows the level of spite and pettiness of Dr. Mitchell whom he said is prepared to stoop to any level in order to achieve his political objectives.

Sen. Burke claimed that he was embarrassed that the Prime Minister of Grenada will resort to that type of conduct.

He said at this stage of his political career, Grenada should not really have to remember Dr. Mitchell as a conman and a crook.

Burke and Dr. Mitchell have been trading bitter exchanges among themselves over the years.

At one stage, the Prime Minister lashed out at Burke as “bound to lie” and the NDC leader responded with the use of the words “bound to thief”.

NDC Christmas message

The Leader, National Executive and membership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) extend to our brothers and sisters across these three Islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, as well as to all Grenadians in the Diaspora, our very best compliments of the season.

There is always an expectation of good tidings at Christmas. Whatever the season means to each of us, it is our hope that we will all find it joyful and fulfilling as we remember the hope that Christmas represents.

The messages of love, self-sacrifice, sharing, prudence and constant prayer, need to characterise all our lives, as together, we work to build a better nation.

The atmosphere of goodwill, peace and caring that permeates this time of the year is always comforting and joyous. As we reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, his example and messages must inspire us to be good examples to others, especially our youth.

Together, we must strengthen our determination to carefully and prudently navigate turbulent economic waters in which we find ourselves. We must work together to inspire hope and help change the things we can. We must make a thoughtful contribution to turning around our circumstances while celebrating each victory.

While there are many challenges ahead for us both individually and collectively, there is nothing that compares to the resilience, strength and determination of the people of this great nation, buttressed by our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora.

As we celebrate at this time, let us keep constant the reason for the season, and may His mercies, grace and peace guide us all into a new year and a new dispensation. May you enjoy a Merry Christmas and God’s blessings for a successful and prosperous 2017.

Strengthening Praedial Larceny and control

In 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture will use increased methods in tackling the issue of Praedial Larceny, one of them being the establishment of a special court session to deal exclusively with the problem.

Praedial Larceny has become one of the most increased crimes affecting the country, with the hard work of farmers being reaped and sold by thieves.

According to Minister of Agriculture, Yolande Bain-Horsford, the problem of Praedial Larceny remains a challenge for the Ministry and other stakeholders within the Agriculture Sector.

She told Parliament that approximately more than 25% of total farm output is lost as a result of Praedial Larceny.

She said there needs to be heavy emphasis placed on making this a thing of the past and the Ministry will do this by continued collaboration with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).

“In 2017 the ministry will continue to place keen focus on the registration of vendors and pursuing the establishment of a special court session to deal exclusively with issues of Praedial Larceny. The ministry will be collaborating with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to increase surveillance of farms and increase inspection of vendors and traffickers of agricultural produce,” she remarked.

Minister Bain-Horsford praised the Praedial Larceny Task Force for the efforts they have been making over the years to help the situation as she knows how much of a task it is.

“Before stating the achievements of the Praedial Larceny programme, I must place on record my appreciation for the work being done by the Praedial Larceny Task Force – that’s not an easy area to deal with. You know how thieves operate, these days they’re smarter than even the police because the strategies and the things that they are doing these days Mr. Speaker, you can’t catch the thief. I want to thank the task force for the mileage, what they have done so far in trying to curb this terrible scourge,” she said.

The female government minister spoke of other initiatives that will be developed in 2017.

“The Ministry continues to engage the office of the Commissioner of Police to assist with initiatives geared at reducing the number of farmer complaints that are not received or not attended to. Submissions are made to the office of the Attorney General for the critical amendment to the existing Praedial Larceny act to ensure improved law enforcement,” she said.

A fleet of vehicles will be handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture in 2017 and the Minister of Agriculture assured Parliament that some of those vehicles will be handed over to the Praedial Larceny Task Force.

The Spirit of Christmas!!!

It’s another year when Jesus Christ takes centre stage around the globe.

Many scholars and non-believers have given different versions of the life and teachings of Jesus – the one who Catholics around the world refer to as the only Son of God that was sent to save Mankind.

The scholars have consistently used the loose term “historical Jesus” in their vain attempts to reconstruct the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth – the Christ Child.

The True Believers know that Jesus Christ existed back then and exist today and will come again at the right time.

This contrast sharply with those who agree that Jesus existed but continue to debate and differ among themselves on the beliefs and teachings of Jesus and some of accuracy of the biblical accounts of the Special One.

However, there appears to be no argument between them about two historical facts – Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of Pontius Pilate.

As Christians, we know as a fact that there is a God who loves us, and Christmas reminds us of the fact that He gave us the ultimate gift by sending His only son, Jesus, and that we celebrate his birth at this special time of year.

In today’s world, we have digressed a great deal from the true meaning of Christmas and the significance of the Christ Child as the tendency is to use the season to get rich and to concentrate on only making big bucks.

For others, the Christmas holiday period is used to forget the hassle of the past eleven months and to see December as that time of the year to put down for the time being the stresses of family life including personal relationships, as well as our health and financial struggles.

It is the latter that is probably occupying most Grenadians as their dollar has become less and less in recent years due to the tax measures of the Structural Adjustment Programme of the current administration.

There are many persons in our midst who go home with a deficit after receiving their salaries at the end of the month.

The Churches on the island have been playing a crucial and significant role in helping some people to find a little comfort in their lives.

The plea from THE NEW TODAY is that the State as a direct policy should remove all taxes at the Port of Entry on all poor relief items brought in the country by the churches to fill a void that our governments cannot and have not been able to do successfully in the past.

This newspaper is fully cognisant of the fact that the Catholic Church will often time donate these items to other churches to give to their less fortunate members, and several government institutions including the Richmond Hill prison.

Yes, we agree with the slogan that Structural Adjustment should be for everybody but we disagree with the notion that the Churches should be made to pay duties to government on relief items to the poor, vulnerable and distressed people in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

If the correct structures are put in place, no church can take advantage of the system for the personal benefits of a few Pastors and Church leaders.

Christmas is a reminder to the believers that God really cares about us and loves us just as he loves his only Son.

Let us this Christmas, continue to see and accept Jesus as our saviour and our Messiah whose mission is to always save and guide us.

As Christians, we have to see the family as the greatest asset a person could have in his/her life.

Let us share with each other all the joys and blessings that we have since this is a gift to us from God Almighty.

A businessman can amass as much wealth as he possible can on earth but when the Lord calls him home he cannot take any of those things with him – he is going as naked as he came into this world.

Our plea to all Grenadians is to look back and count the blessings that were given to you no matter how small or big since it is a blessing from the One Above who is always in control.

THE NEW TODAY reminds the nation to let their lives be governed this season and beyond by the following:

God loves us!
He sacrificed His Son so that we will be saved.
Be thankful, God is good and alive!
This is the season to realize our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness.
You will feel His glory once you do!

Share your blessings, show people that you care. Give a helping hand, give a hug.
God will reward you for that.
It is Jesus Christ’s birthday once again.
To remind us that God is always with us,
So Let us celebrate the Christmas with hope in our heart

Have a blessed Christmas!

SOG Foods come on stream

A new supermarket has opened its doors to residents of Calivigny and the environs.

SOG Foods, located just past Fort Jeudy gap, was formally opened on December 9 with a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon.

Business owner Otis Gay with members of his staff

Business owner Otis Gay with members of his staff

The new supermarket which prides itself with being “the source of good foods,” occupies a 30-square feet building that was once known as Morain’s Automotive Garage.

Manager of SOG Foods, Theneale Paul pledged the supermarket’s commitment to giving the general public excellent customer service.

Paul said a full range of basic products including meats, wines and alcohol at competitive prices are available to meet the needs of customers in what she described as a convenient and hassle-free environment.

She spoke of the operators of the business being able to create a source of employment for persons who live within the vicinity of the supermarket.

Minister Joseph – customer service is crucial

Minister Joseph – customer service is crucial

“This new supermarket has already brought employment for over 20 persons, and this would benefit many families in the community, and many others who have traveled to do their shopping… they would now be able to spend their money within the community,” she said.

Paul expressed her gratitude to the number of people who assisted with the new venture including the suppliers who have contributed to the ideas for the past two years in helping the dream of the supermarket to materialise.

Member of Parliament for the Constituency of St. David’s, Oliver Joseph who offered a toast as part of the opening ceremony spoke of being satisfied with the number of people who have been able to be employed at the supermarket.

Joseph indicated that government by itself cannot provide the jobs, so it looks to the private sector as it facilitates private sector development.

The senior Government Minister, however, stressed the need for “good customer service,” which he said is extremely important in business.

SOG Supermarket – a place of comfort for shopping

SOG Supermarket – a place of comfort for shopping

“You want to have an environment that (will) cause people to want to come back,” he said.

SOG Foods will be open for business every day of the week between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.

The supermarket is owned by Engineer, Otis Gay who is originally from Carriacou.

Christmas Message of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

Warmest greetings to all those who share in the joy of the Christmas season.

Around the world, friends, families and communities come together at Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, in the spirit of the season.

Christmas is arguably the time of year when unity and love are most demonstrated. Whether it is volunteering time to help others, giving gifts to children in need, sharing a meal with the less fortunate among us, or opening our homes, the true spirit of Christmas is about connecting with our neighbours and our communities. It is also about giving thanks and demonstrating goodwill toward each other.

This Christmas, as I have done consistently through the years, I call on all Grenadians and friends of Grenada, whether at home or abroad, to continue to work together for the benefit of our beautiful country.

To those who have not yet embraced this expression of national unity, I ask you to reconsider during this holiday season, as we reflect on Jesus Christ’s love for all of us, His brothers and sisters.

Working together these past few years has brought this country tremendous benefits, and for that, I express heartfelt thanks to everyone.

With your help, sacrifices and prayers, we are winning the battle to restore our lovely Nation to economic sustainability; and by doing so, we are better able to provide opportunities for our citizens. As a government, we are proud of the small victories and we are happy that we can share in the benefits as they come, especially during this Holiday season.

We recognise that Government alone cannot create the country that we all would like to live in. We need many hands and committed hearts.

We need continued unity and oneness of purpose for the advancement of our blessed and beautiful country.

So, this season, as we gather with friends and families, let us reflect and strive to emulate some of the lessons of the Christmas story; whether it is being selfless, obedient and brave like Mary; trusting in God and staying committed like Joseph; faithful as the wise men or generous as the inn keeper.

Let us also strive to be united like that first family, through all the challenges and successes.

Let us demonstrate goodwill and love for each other, just as Jesus Christ taught us.

And in accordance with Paul’s message to the Philippians in chapter 4, verse 7: may “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you.