Below is Premier Dr D Orlando Smith’s full address for the 2018 Christmas season
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, joyous greetings to each of you during this holiday season.
The holidays as we know it, are a time of joy, reflection and spending time with our loved ones – whether family or friends; it is a time when treasured memories are made and precious family traditions are revered.
As we celebrate this season, let us first and foremost reflect on the birth of Jesus and recognise that his blessings, teachings and love are the reasons we gather with our friends and families, to give gifts, thanks and express our love and appreciation for each other.
This season, may we also be reminded of the fragility of life; reflecting on those who lost their lives during the storms in 2017 and those who are still working towards rebuilding their homes and their lives.
This year, we said a final farewell to dear family members and friends, key stalwarts in the community and a handful of our beloved centenarians and pioneers. For many of us, Christmas will not be the same without them but we will continue to treasure the memories and legacies they have left in our hearts. I pray that God would bring comfort to their immediate families and friends who will miss them most in the midst of their Christmas celebrations.
While we offer our eternal thanks to God for sparing and protecting our islands this year from natural disasters, we are mindful that some of our brothers and sisters throughout the Caribbean were not so fortunate this year, and we offer our prayers to those near and far.
In this same spirit of unity let us remember those among us who may not have extended families or special friends with whom to share the Christmas season. Let us open our hearts and embrace them. Let us brighten the corners where we are, and lend a helping hand to those in need.
As we look forward to 2019, let us do so in unison – displaying love and respect for each other, to continue to strengthen our economy and secure the future of our Virgin Islands. Let us be creative and propel our Territory to new heights locally, regionally and internationally. Let us continue to work together to rid our community of ills, crime and discord from among us. May we resolve to treat each other with courtesy, mutual understanding and respect. May we resolve to conduct all of our affairs as law-abiding citizens, for only then can we stand proudly as a great BVI.
My colleagues and I will continue to work without end to confront and surmount any challenges. Most importantly, we will work without end and with unabated resolve to ensure that your lives .. that our people … that the BVI … grows better, stronger, smarter, greener.
In closing, I wish to thank those in our essential services who work tirelessly and around the clock to keep us safe and healthy. We appreciate you and pray that God will continue to bless and strengthen you.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, throughout the Christmas season and into the New Year.
On behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands and my wife Lorna, I wish each of you a safe, joyous season; and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.
May God bless all of you and our home — the Virgin Islands.