2008 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE BY PRIME MINISTER THE HON. DAVID THOMPSON

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The Hon. David Thompson
Prime Minister of Barbados
Christmas Message 2008

Fellow Barbadians at home and abroad, Visitors to our island and Friends……

Christmas Day is here again. This is the time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our Christ the Messiah and reflect on the significance of His coming over two thousand years ago.

It is a time to remember that our Saviour came not as a rich and mighty Prince but as the humble earthly son of a carpenter. For me the most powerful message of the story of Christ is that we must never underestimate the ordinary people we meet in our everyday lives and that we must always help the vulnerable members of our society.

This message is important in every area of our lives particularly among those who are called to govern.

Christmas is when we take time out to celebrate and to rest. It is also a time to give thanks for all the blessings that have been showered on us.

We in Barbados are fortunate for the enlightened leadership we have had for many decades and the high standards of living we now enjoy.

In less than fifty years we have hauled ourselves from being a collection of backward villages in the shadow of colonial, sugar plantations to become a rapidly developing nation and one of the best places in the world to live, to work and to visit.

This is also a time to share our blessings. Traditionally we have publicly shared our joy and our bounty with family, with friends, with neighbours and with the strangers in our midst.

Over the years our lifestyles have changed and we now tend to celebrate more privately. This year let us not assume that all is well with those around us.

et us reach out and ensure that those less fortunate than ourselves – the children in care, the house-bound elders, the homeless and all those who suffer indignity and deprivation in silence – catch the Christmas spirit and enjoy the season.

Christmas is the symbol of a new beginning.

Just before Christmas 2007 it was announced that this country would be given the opportunity to choose between more of the same or to embark on a new pathway to the progress that was promised in November 1966.

A few weeks later, on 15th January 2008, the good people of Barbados spoke.

A new Government – your Government – was elected with the mandate to implement the social and economic policies that were written in our Manifesto and announced in the Throne Speech on 12th February 2008.

At the best of times it was an ambitious project. Little did we know that within months the prices of fuel and basic foodstuff would reach unprecedented levels.

This brought home to us the interconnectedness of nations’ economies and the vulnerability of small island developing states.

Then we witnessed the dramatic collapse of the world’s major financial markets that threatens to have serious economic repercussions on our flagship industries, particularly tourism.

In keeping with our policy of protecting the weak we have monitored the situation carefully, passed on any reductions to consumers and devised an economic strategy to reduce the impact of the recession on our people.

We have appealed to you to exercise the careful stewardship of our resources for which we are renowned. We have also stressed the need to become more enterprising in the emerging global market place.

I believe that we have all done enough to enable us relax for a few days and to enjoy the Christmas break. Let us use this time wisely to recharge our batteries and to plan for the coming year.

All that is left for me to do is to thank the wonderful people of Barbados for the trust you have placed in me and my Government to pilot us through the changing circumstances of our times.

Rest assured that we shall continue to consult extensively with you and to inform you on a regular basis on the decisions made.

Most of all, I thank you for your prayers which I deeply appreciate.

I wish each and every one of you a happy Christmas and a prosperous and fulfilling New Year.

God Bless you all.

God Bless Barbados.

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