While noting that a number of persons are still feeling the impacts of Hurricane Irma, even more than a year later, Governor Augustus Jaspert is calling on residents to assist those who may need it.
“For those of us who can, let us continue to share what we have with each other,” the governor said while giving his annual Christmas address. “Many of us are not where we want to be. I know at this time, some people are still displaced. Others are still living in their homes, but roofs are still leaking.”
He also noted the efforts of the public officers and first responders in the territory — some of whom are still working under temporary facilities.
He thanked them for their dedication, especially throughout the last several months.
“I will continue to do my part working tirelessly with the Government to ensure that public officers do not get used to this state where temporary solutions become permanent for them.”
Below is Governor Jaspert’s full Christmas address for 2018:
Christmas is a joyous time that we look forward too.
Like many of you, I enjoy Christmas because families and friends are able to reunite, reflect and discuss the many ways we will individually and collectively work together to ensure a cheerful future.
We also share memories about those who are no longer with us, and we remember their positive impact on our lives.
More importantly, the advent season is where we reflect on the Christmas story, the reason why we are able to celebrate year after year. We reflect on the story of new birth, a story about Baby Jesus, born from humble beginnings and lived His life in the truest sense of unconditional love.
So Christmas continues to bring with it the wonderful atmosphere of goodwill and unity — two of the most important gifts of commitment that we can all give to each other as we celebrate with our families and friends, and as we head into the New Year.
As we give thanks and reflect at this time, I challenge us when we get together to talk about how we can use our individual gifts of goodwill and unity to strengthen our families, our personal and professional relationships and rebuild this fantastic Territory that God has blessed us with.
The first gift is goodwill.
This is where we show kindness and willingness to help those who need support.
In the spirit of goodwill, we can build new relationships, strengthen existing ones and forgive and mend those that are broken.
The Christmas story is about new birth, new beginnings, new perspectives, and more importantly it is about giving back to others, in meaningful ways, and doing so unconditionally.
As I reflect on last year—2017, I think about where we are at this present moment in 2018 since the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Many of us are not where we want to be. I know at this time, some people are still displaced. Others are still living in their homes, but roofs are still leaking.
For those of us who can, let us continue to share what we have with each other.
Let us continue to be a shoulder for each other, picking up the pieces together.
Some people may not ask for help, but let us be vigilant and recognise when our support is needed and extend ourselves to the happiness of others.
Also, some business owners are still trying to rebuild, and there are new ones emerging.
In the spirit of goodwill, let us call them, visit them and assist them where we can.
I know that public officers throughout this Territory are still making personally sacrifices and they are working in temporary locations because many of the public infrastructures were damaged.
I know that some public officers are working in challenging environments, yet despite the odds they continue giving incredible service and dedication to all of us.
In all the ways they are admirable, and I thank them for their unwavering commitment.
I will continue to do my part working tirelessly with the Government to ensure that public officers do not get used to this state where temporary solutions become permanent for them.
I am aware that goodwill cannot happen unless we recognise the importance of the gift of unity—Unity where we work together despite our differences to make a positive transformation in our own lives, in the lives of others and in turn this Territory.
If there was ever a time that unity is needed to rebuild this Territory, it is now.
We may be different in many ways, but I know that all of us can find common ground and work on solutions together to face current and future challenges, for unity is what we will need to take us forward and to prosper.
At this time, I invite you to join me in thanking all the first responders including police, fire officers, doctors, nurses and social workers, and others who answer when we call, and in particular those who are away from their families today on duty, working to support us if we need.
Thank you also to volunteer groups like the Red Cross, VISAR, Rotary Clubs, for example for the exemplary and selfless act of goodwill in the community.
Restoration requires goodwill and unity—gifts we all possess.
Let us go forward into 2019 with a new perspective and a fresh approach where we build each other up to ensure a better British Virgin Islands.
So, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from my family, my team at the Office of the Governor and Government House, and myself.
Collectively, we are happy that we were able to provide you with service in 2018 and we look forward to our continued relationship and partnership in 2019.
Have a very Happy Christmas!
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