“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” Winston Churchill
I am always excited about this time of year, even when, like this year, there are things to take away that special feeling. Oh, how I love the Festive Season. It is truly a time for getting together with family and friends. I feel special when someone at the other end of the phone wishes me Happy Holidays and extend their wishes to my family. It really gives expression to the old saying “Peace on earth and goodwill towards men”.
As we look forward to 2022, it would be remiss of me not to recall the highs and lows of 2021 where there were definitely much more of the latter. Here are some noted happenings so far this year:
1. COVID 19 pandemic continued throughout the year with every indication that the Delta variant will give way to OMICRON, the variant that will take us into 2022. It doesn’t look good. Just when everyone was getting ready to have a wonderful holiday season, the OMICRON variant is very much on the horizon and will definitely limit the activities that we are accustomed to at this time. In New York, the restaurants are affected, Broadway shows have been cancelled and the DOW dropped substantially on December 20, 2021. Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying hard to keep schools open, even though online learning seems a likely option in 2022. However, while all of this is going on, airline flights are fully booked and it is expected that this holiday season will break all previous records. Citizens all over the world are determined to enjoy a normal Christmas with family and friends (regardless of the stubbornness of the pandemic), and return to the way it used to be pre COVID 19.
2. Work from home expanded in the early months of 2021 with some companies returning to the office during the latter months of the year. We are very likely to see a return to working from home and remotely in a more expanded manner should OMICRON continue to surge.
3. Teleconferencing continues to be effectively utilised and even expanded, with ZOOM as a leading provider, which yielded significant gains for its shareholders. Business travel suffered as a result of executives limiting their national and overseas trips. Persons were able to view and participate in funeral services and other religious ceremonies from the comfort of their homes.
4. Investment Opportunities have never produced greater results, whether it is in Real Estate, Stocks, Bonds, ForEx, Mutual Funds, Crypto Currencies, etc. They have all performed well for those who participated, regardless of the risks.
5. In the latter half of 2021, St. Lucians went to the polls. The election campaign of 2021was very subdued due to COVID 19 with the emphasis placed on voting rather than the usual campaigning and rallies. The elections were held on Monday, 26th July, 2021 and resulted in a change of government which saw the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) winning, and gaining a strong majority in the house of parliament. The results were as follows: Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) 13 seats, United Workers Party (UWP) 2 seats with 2 independent victories. The Independent Candidates are now prominent ministers in the current administration. Putting People First as promoted by the SLP was a winning slogan.
6. Fare paying passengers are now going to the edge of space and the pioneers, Musk, Bezos and Branson are looking towards a bright future in space.
7. The rushed US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the build up of troops on Russian and Chinese borders.
8. Cruise ships returned to Port Castries, Hewanorra International Airport is busy. Virgin Atlantic is back and our large hotels are doing fine. Tourism is back!
9. Serious crimes and homicides continue to plague our society at an alarming rate and pose a challenge for law enforcement officials to craft a programme that will help to alleviate this scourge.
10. The relationship with The People’s Republic of China on Taiwan and Saint Lucia continues to prosper and it is noteworthy that they were the first contributor to the Youth Economy programme being initiated by the new government.
11. CARICOM appointed Dr. Carla Barnett as its new Secretary General.
12. Barbados became a Republic and assumed responsibility for its own affairs.
13. The Government of Guyana continues with reforms and infrastructural works, and is seeking to expand opportunities for all Guyanese.
14. Metaverse is the latest buzz. Facebook is now Meta and we can all be on the lookout for the surprises that are in the making for this platform.
15. In the US Senate, one Democratic Senator Joseph Manchin is frustrating the wishes of 49 of his colleagues in executing President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
16. As we come to the close of 2021, Saint Lucia COVID 19 cases are down, deaths are substantially reduced. However, we must be forever vigilant, adhere to the protocols, and encourage our families and friends to get vaccinated. If you took 2 shots, take the third. Stay in tune with the science.
The above are some of the developments that attracted my attention in 2021.
A Merry Christmas to all. Keep the true purpose in mind as we celebrate the birth of Yahshua. Stay safe.
Freelance Journalist/Realtor/Business Consultant