Now hours away from celebrating its first Christmas in a pandemic, Premier Andrew Fahie is urging residents to remain cognizant of the virus and to adhere to all of the COVID-19 protocols during this festive period.
Premier Fahie, members of his government, Opposition members as well as the Governor and Deputy Governor all penned season’s greetings to residents across the territory.
Fahie said: “We are accustomed to the physical gatherings where we can sit down together and share meals, drinks, conversation, hugs and laughter. But we all know that this year is different. COVID-19 is still with us and we are not out of the woods yet.”
“I do not have to remind you that we have to be careful and vigilant, that we have to maintain the protocols so that we can minimise the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe. Physically, things are inevitably different. But spiritually, nothing has to change. COVID-19 cannot stop us from showing love for one another, as Jesus taught us to love,” he added.
Use technology to connect with loved ones
The Premier also recommended a compromise for all persons needing to connect with families or friends who may be celebrating alone.
“The spirit of Christmas resides in each of us and in these difficult times we need to make the extra effort to let our lights shine brightly. We can do this by showing compassion for the needy and giving charity. Technology allows us to reach out and bring some measure of cheer to those who may be lonely and feeling forgotten. These are very meaningful gifts that we can give to spread joy and hope, and to honour the Christ child,” he stated.
Governor’s event not being held this year
Meanwhile, Governor Augustus Jaspert said his annual Christmas party will not be held this year.
Despite this, he said efforts will be made to ensure children still receive gifts.
“This year, we cannot hold the traditional Christmas Party at the Governor’s Office so we are rallying behind ‘Tree of Hands’ and the ‘Lions Club of Tortola’ to help ensure more children can receive gifts this year. Staff across the Governor’s Office are contributing toys and we encourage others to do the same where they can,” Governor Jaspert stated.
Use time to reflect
Governor Jaspert, who will be spending his final Christmas in the BVI as Governor, also urged residents to utilise the time to reflect on the past year and refocus for the year to come.
“It has been an unusual year in BVI and indeed the world – one we could never have predicted at this point last year. For many, it has been a year of stress and uncertainty and some may not be able to spend Christmas as they usually do with their families. Nonetheless, I hope that this Christmas offers happy times with loved ones – in person or virtually – where we can rest, recharge and reaffirm our faith,” Jaspert stated.
Give from the heart
In the meantime, Opposition Leader Marlon Penn urged persons who may not be able to give financially, to give of themselves to others.
“Do a little extra for someone — lend a helping hand to those in need and make a positive difference in someone’s life. To a child — be a good example, and to your friends and family. And in true Virgin Islands spirit, share your blessings,” Penn stated.
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