ONE week from today, many Saint Lucians from all walks of life will be celebrating Christmas. While many will be in a formidable position to celebrate the holidays with the traditional pomp and ceremony that has perennially come to define the season, others will be still feeling the pinch from what was arguably a difficult year for all of us. The year has been so tough that while I think I’ve been blessed immensely throughout it, I temper my happiness when I consider how difficult it has and continues to be for many of my fellow Saint Lucians.
If resolutions are worth being stuck to at this time of year, I would like to see a number of pleasant changes taking place in my nation in the new year. Frankly, I’m not leaving that up to Santa Claus; I’m leaving it up to all of us who truly love this country to accomplish them.
Firstly, I would want to see us coming closer towards being a united people. Whether we walk down Political Avenue, Social Media Boulevard or Business Street, there seems to be just too much tearing each other apart on our part. While it is understandable that conflict will exist from time to time and at different levels, I get the feeling that we often tend to be more adversarial than compassionate when it comes to settling scores and debating ideas. We need to recognize that depending on how we resolve our differences, the end-result can either haunt or heal us.
Secondly, I would like to see more opportunities open up for Saint Lucians, especially those who have been chronically unemployed despite having the required qualifications to gain employment. While the government continuously pledges to create job opportunities for Saint Lucians, it also remains incumbent on every citizen of working age to put their thinking caps on and create employment rather than wait cap in hand for any government to create such for them. Sometimes, too, we need to put our long-term goals on hold momentarily in order to capitalize on the short-term opportunities. My present employment is testimony of having to take up a myriad of jobs before finally getting to do what I always wanted to make a career of.
Thirdly, I would like to see the crime level drop back down from the steep hill it mounted over time. Too many criminal acts are being committed on the island and too many of them go unpunished. There really needs to be a prevailing sense of security and justice in this country for a change. To the extent that many people fear for their lives rather than their livelihoods speak strongly to the state of helplessness on the part of many. As cliché as it might sound every time someone says it, we really need to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper.
Fourthly, we really need to give back to this country for all the good it does for us. Note that I did not single out government, political party or otherwise – I said country. While we will have our qualms about the state of affairs in our State, we must recognize that even as foreign allies pinch their pennies and limit their financial support for us, we must do more for ourselves even if it pains us to do so. Where we recognize the need to assist a fellow Saint Lucian or a good cause, we need to take up that challenge wholeheartedly. I know a lot of that generosity already exists among us – I’m just hoping we have more of it. We’re all in this national development process together and we all need to play our individual roles.
Finally, whether you’re a Saint Lucian having it sunny and safe in the tropics or wintery and hectic in the cold North, just know this: that if you chart the course of our history, we’ve never had a good or bad thing lasting us for too long. The current bad spell we’re experiencing will soon pass. But I strongly believe that if we use the right mix of ingredients in the new year, then we stand a really good chance of having a prosperous 2015. Christmases come and go, but this island spirit must remain strong, focused and ready to take on any great challenge. If you asked me, the fact that many among us can still find some spirit in the season to pass on to others is a great start. Let’s keep that rich spirit beyond Christmas.
Merry Christmas, fellow Saint Lucians, and let’s keep it together in 2015.