Leader of the Opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The following is Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s Christmas message:

I take this opportunity to wish all citizens of our beloved Trinidad and Tobago a happy and most importantly – healthy Christmas. Each year millions around the world, regardless of their religious, socio-economic and cultural background, look forward to this joyous celebration. For our Christian brothers and sisters, it is a time of great reverence, happiness, and holy reflection as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Regardless of our individual beliefs, the story of Christmas has always been one of hope and faith which has offered great inspiration, comfort, and spiritual upliftment, as it has often spurred the spreading of goodwill to all during this special time. It represents the fulfillment of their faithful belief in God’s promise to send them a Saviour. If there ever was a year when our world needed the hope and faith, it is this year, 2020, given the phenomenal hardships and unforeseen global upheavals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many within our nation have lost loved ones, or have been displaced, or lost their jobs. Others have been unable to return home due to the closure of our borders, and the stringent policies for repatriation of our citizens put in place by the government.

Indeed, many of the measures put in place to deal with the health crisis have fallen short, failing to meet the needs of citizens. The failure of the Government to reach many of those in need means that this Christmas meets many of our citizens in desperate need of basic necessities including medication and food. Let us help those we can.

It is daunting, and for many, there is hopelessness and despair. But we are a resilient people. I know that together, we will get through this challenging period.

Christmas teaches us that miracles, deliverance and salvation are all possible when one has faith in the will of God and trust in his purpose. Mary never questioned God’s plan for her, even when it appeared that all the inns were filled on the night she was due to give birth, she kept faith that God would provide a place for her.

Even when Herod tried to have baby Jesus killed, it was the faith of both Mary and Joseph in God’s plan that allowed them to escape unharmed. The lesson for us all is that no matter how tough the circumstances may become, we must always place our trust in God’s plan. Today, while the present dilemma facing our world seems grim and the present circumstances facing our nation seem grave, we need to draw upon our faith in God to rebuild.

While our celebrations this year are strikingly different from last year’s, we must be thankful for the blessing of health, and the ability to celebrate, albeit on a smaller scale. To the families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, I offer my condolences and my prayers. It is my hope that you are able to find within you the courage to endure.

We remain hopeful that better days are ahead. As long as we believe we can make a difference, we can steer our nation onto a better course.

It is my hope that citizens enjoy a peaceful, joyful and safe Christmas with close family, and that you stay safe and healthy as we welcome the opportunities that may come with the New Year. May God continue to bless each of you and may God continue to bless our very great nation, Trinidad and Tobago.

Merry Christmas!