CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — The following is a Christmas Day Message from Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis.
“My brothers and sisters at home and abroad,
“I come today to greet you on Christmas Day. This Christmas is like no other that we have ever experienced. The COVID-19 global pandemic has destroyed lives and livelihoods across the world. Even as I speak today, this pandemic continues to ravage our world leaving untold death and destruction in its wake.
“COVID-19 has been no respecter of countries or personalities. It has affected and afflicted rich and poor, the powerful and the powerless, the large and the small all with equal ferocity.
“We in our beloved St. Kitts and Nevis have not been spared. Our borders were closed from March to November, 2020; resources had to be found for readying our health and education infrastructure; safety nets had to be put in place to protect our poor and vulnerable and the thousands of persons suddenly made jobless.
“Even now, many of our brothers and sisters who work in our hotels, in our restaurants and bars, our taxi and tour operators remain unemployed and many have not had an income for the past nine months.
“Against this backdrop, some may well ask what is there to celebrate this Christmas?
“I say to you today that if you are alive to see this Christmas then that is reason enough to celebrate. That Jehovah God continues to give you and your loved ones the gift of life when so many have died across the world speaks eloquently to His abiding grace and mercy towards the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“It must surely be remarkable that with the untold death and destruction seen across the world from COVID-19, we of these precious lands of St. Kitts and Nevis have not seen any hospitalizations or deaths due to this deadly virus.
“While we must thank our brave and dedicated frontline workers and our Task Force both nationally and here in Nevis, it must be clear to us all that it is only by God’s abiding grace and mercy that we are here today to celebrate Christmas.
“So this Christmas let us reflect not on what we have lost nor on what we do not have. Instead let us rejoice in the fact that we and our families are alive and well. Let us dwell not on the absence of our traditional carnival or large family gatherings but on the presence of life within us that gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow. It is only through life that we can have hope to rebuild after this terrible tragedy passes us by.
“This Christmas, more than any other, must remind us that the true spirit of Christmas has never been about how much we have or how much we can get. Christmas has always been about how much we can give. Giving does not only mean money and beautifully wrapped presents but also giving of our time and talents to others. Spending time with your elderly neighbour who craves company, spending quality time with your families, sharing your Christmas meal with your less fortunate villager. These are but examples of how we can give of our love and time this Christmas.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has knocked us down to be sure but it has not knocked us out. Even as we count our losses, let us also count our blessings. I have been delighted at the love and unity displayed throughout our fair lands by our people. I have seen persons from all walks of life offer meals to our frontline workers and our most vulnerable. I have seen volunteers step forward to offer their time and expertise. I have seen frontline workers in health and security and other essential services work long hours putting their own lives at risk often with no additional pay. I have seen our business community adapt and innovate to better serve our public.
“Perhaps, more than ever, the long shadow of COVID-19 has forced us to truly live out our motto and our creed of “Country Above Self.”
“My brothers and sisters, our cup is half empty but it is also half full. Even as we struggle today, we have to be grateful that we are yet among the living for only the living can have hopes for tomorrow.
“I therefore say to you on this most unusual Christmas Day that the reason that Christ was born has not changed. The mercy of Jehovah God towards us has not changed. The hope of redemption for us all has not changed. The possibility of a brighter future has not changed. The need for us to love and cherish each other has not changed.
“I therefore bid you and your household a blessed Christmas. Let us give thanks for God’s unchanging love for us all. Whatever little we have let us share it with each other and let us never forget that little is much when God is in it.
“Thank you and God bless you.”