This Christmas season will no doubt be different for many, but we can take comfort in the fact that the sacrifices we made earlier and those we continue to make will protect us, our loved ones and our communities. It is important that we stay up to date on the health protocols and recommendations- and follow them.
We have a lot to be thankful for and we should display our gratitude. Even though this is still a challenging time, it’s also an opportunity to think about what is good in our lives. Following my Ministry’s last press conference of November 11th and the tremendous feedback related to the Cabinet decisions, I was happy to deliver the good news of celebrating this festive season with less restrictions.
By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than a year ago and I’m hopeful that we will build on the progress made. Let us take time to thank our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, who by their sheer determination and resilience ensured the safety of our health and wellbeing throughout this pandemic.
Let us be grateful for our private sector partners and retail workers who kept supply chains open.
Let us say thanks to our civil servants and all residents who offer service in various forms.
Let us think of this season as a time to be safe, calm, and kind.
As a people we should have an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness this Christmas time- a sense of appreciation that our government ensured our wellbeing by guaranteeing that the COVID-19 vaccine was readily available and still is available to all citizens and residents at no cost. The next period in TCI is very important as we strive to balance lives and livelihoods. We have been happy to see our children back to in person learning and our adult citizens engaging in careful socialization.
As a reminder, the 2020 Christmas season saw us with a spike in COVID-19 cases resulting in a number of restrictions. This December we have an overall vaccination rate of 80 percent of our adult population. While this is a significant achievement, I must remind you that vigilance and adherence are crucial factors to maintaining good health. This is the time for all of us to do what we are supposed to do. Yes, enforcement mechanisms are still in place, but it is imperative that we demonstrate personal responsibility during our celebrations this holiday season.
During the holidays it is equally important for our most vulnerable and those with underlying conditions to also take precautions, being mindful of diets, health routines and medications. Traditionally, at this time of year, most of us will have a celebratory alcoholic drink- please drink responsibly. Brighten the holidays by making your health a priority.
Christmas has a significant history associated with it. Each year, on December 25th we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. As a good Anglican, the name Christmas is derived from 'Mass of Christ'.
This Christmas, I wish my fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, at home and abroad - The gift of love. The gift of peace. The gift of happiness. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!