Fellow Dominicans and friends of Dominica, I extend greetings filled with hope and peace, as we prepare to welcome this New Year, 2023. After all of the expectation and preparation, Christmas has come and gone. Old Year’s will be spent at church or at parties, at quiet gatherings or at home. And shortly, a new year will be ushered in.
As we reflect on everything that we faced in 2022 and look to the future, two words come to mind, Gratitude and Reset. Gratitude – In a year that was extraordinarily difficult, during which the global
population was faced with pestilence; war; shortages of commodities, jobs and financial resources, God bore up Dominica and Dominicans. For this, we must express our gratitude.
The idea of Reset is not just about short-termism, or a convenient slogan. For me, this is a strategic imperative for how we must operate as a country. Achieving this will demand the attention of all stakeholders.
The Reset will involve a reassessment of our strategies and approaches to governance to deliver growth to our country and strengthen our social systems to promote the wellbeing of all persons. As we reset, we will continue to do our utmost to protect and support our citizens in times of crisis and distress. More than ever, our children, women and elderly need us to speak up loudly on their behalf to shield them from
abuse of all forms. Domestic abuse must be treated as a public problem which requires us to respond to prevent and punish all acts of intimate partner violence and provide protection to the victims.
The Reset, therefore, calls on us to be more empathetic to the needs and circumstances of others; and carve out a role for every person in Dominica in the creation of a more peaceful, progressive country.
One of the lessons COVID taught us, is that we can neither live alone nor in isolation. Human beings need each other. We are at our very best when we have social interaction. Even a hello, or simple conversation with another person, can make a difference for us and for the person to whom we are speaking. The reset that I am advocating and envisaging will see Dominicans honouring our elders, supporting our youth, being our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers and acting with a sense of care toward our neighbours and fellow Dominicans.
The Christmas season will soon be at an end, but the spirit of Christmas is created by all of us, by our attitudes, by the exchange of kind words and through acts of kindness and courtesy. We do not have to limit this spirt to the 12 days of Christmas. With an effort by all our citizens, we can extend the Christmas spirit throughout the coming year. We should work to ensure that our streets, work-spaces, communities
and country become better places. God gave mankind the gift of His son. While we exchange store bought gifts, the greatest gifts we can offer each other is the sacrifice of our time and ourselves to show
kindness and caring. Let us do this however we can, wherever we can, and as often as we can.
Civil society organizations, rights groups and activists are called to embrace their function as advocates for positive change and the advancement of the shared goals and interests of the Dominican people.
Our Church must be proactive in our spiritual and social lives and in our communities, bearing in mind that the Bible urges that we seek first, the Kingdom of God, and only then will all other things be added to us. My Government is grateful and humbled by the overwhelming mandate and confidence which Dominicans have reposed in us. We have committed to a National Reset that prioritizes people centered, inclusive policy and decision making.
It is our intention to focus on building resilience; enhancing communities; strengthening our society; and bolstering our economy against the external and environmental shocks that threaten Dominica’s social and economic wellbeing. We will give priority to increasing citizen engagement, improving communication and fostering greater transparency and accountability.
The world is a place of great uncertainty, and the prediction is that 2023 will be another difficult year. The Government is working toward economic stimulation and job creation with domestic infrastructural works programme, a resurging tourism product and new hotels. We expect the new airport, during construction and once completed, to contribute to improving the lives and livelihoods of Dominicans. As a small island developing state however, Dominica will remain vulnerable to international conditions. We give you the commitment that whatever the circumstances, this country and citizens will face them unified; with Government and people standing and working shoulder to shoulder, determined to overcome and succeed.
For many of us, the New Year is a time for making resolutions. Let us therefore resolve:
to work at creating happiness for ourselves and others;
to build new national partnerships for people advancement and prosperity;
to reset so that a new patriotism takes hold of all Dominicans and inspires us to be better people, who are more community minded and focused on building a strong nation, in which all Dominicans have a place and where our needs can be fulfilled.
I wish every one of you, a Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year and give you the assurance that the Government and I look forward to working with you on these New Year’s resolutions which will help us achieve Dynamic Dominica.
May God bless Dominica and Dominicans everywhere.
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