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Speech

My Fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora.

Thank you for allowing us into your homes to greet you again this Christmas.

We have come through a turbulent year that started with great hope and promises.  We anticipated that 2020 would be a Year of Transformation in our homes, personal lives, communities, and our nation.

Unfortunately, that was not the reality, because by the end of the first quarter, the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic had hit our shores, radically altering our lives in unexpected and undesirable ways.

But we rose to the challenge and initially we did well in keeping down the infection and death rate by adhering to the protocols of social distancing, sanitizing, wearing masks, adhering to curfews, among other things.

We learned to conduct our daily lives differently and sometimes more efficiently with the increased use of technology for doing business, educational activities, religious, entertainment, ceremonial, and other functions and services.

Most importantly, we did not surrender to the Pandemic, even though we don’t have the vaccine yet readily available in Jamaica.  We resorted to our inner strength, fortitude, and core beliefs, confident as our Jamaican poet Claude McKay wrote, ‘Even if we die, it will be like men pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back.’

We are known globally as a people who do so much with so little, because we are resilient.  We have faced hardships and difficulties in the past and have triumphed. Let us do it again, united as a family, aspiring and achieving together.

This past year we saw challenges bringing out the best in our people: in our companies, groups, NGOs, entertainers, and the Government: ALL found ways to help people who lost jobs, needed food, health, educational supplies, and instructions. I am so proud of those persons who were, and still are, exercising a ‘duty of care’ to our people.

Sadly, in the struggle, we lost some of our loved ones, including many of our well-known artists.   My sincere condolence to those who lost family members, friends, or acquaintances due to the virus, road accidents, murders or natural causes, including flooding.

For those who are still rebuilding their lives, I ask that neighbours, family, friends, and Corporate Jamaica lend a helping hand as we continue to demonstrate that truly we are our ‘brother’s/sister’s keeper’.

I will always believe in the goodness of our people, and I encourage everyone to continue to believe in Jamaica. And, despite the challenges, let us never give up.

This Christmas, as we gather in our homes or our groups, let us remember that ‘out of adversity comes opportunity’ – opportunity to know each other better, to deepen family bonds, play together, pray together or do what we do best – together.

Lady Allen joins me in wishing each one of you a peaceful, sober, reflective, and safe Holiday Season.

God bless you and God bless “Jamaica land we love.”

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