Christmas Message 2021 from the Consul General of Barbados at New York

Christmas Message 2021 from the Consul General of Barbados at New York

Christmas Message 2021 

Consul General of Barbados at New York 

O St. E. Mackie Holder 


For Barbados, thankfully the true spirit of Christmas was very much evident and a blessing throughout the year. Twenty twenty-one was Barbados’ annus horribilis. The country endured possibly the hardest year in its history as a democracy as a combination of environmental blows and ongoing economic fallout occasioned by what is now the never-ending pandemic, along with the worst consequences from Covid-19 in its two-year plus reign of devastation.

Regrettably, there was more loss of life and, again, particularly at this time, as those of us give thanks for making it through yet another year no one envisioned, we remember the fallen.

Barbados also had to cope with ash fall from the eruption of La Soufriere volcano in neighboring St. Lucia, an unusual hit from a hurricane, Elsa, and yet more damage from a freak weather system. All of this against the very present spectre of the pandemic on world wide activities and, for Barbados, particularly the slowdown to a trickle of the vital tourism sector.

But the Christmas story is one of survival against the odds, the kindness of strangers and the resilience of people working for a common cause – the birth and protection of Jesus – all leading to lasting renewal.

In the midst of its crises and throughout the year, the real meaning of Christmas was manifested in the support of Barbados from countries, its people and friends in random acts of benevolence from the donation of vaccines and PPE to volunteerism at an awe-inspiring level. Barbados will always be grateful to countries including Cuba, Dominica, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guyana, India, China and the USA for their contributions to the Covid-19 fight and the myriad ways in which hundreds of individuals at home and abroad displayed caring and sharing and love of fellowmen.

From New York, two instances of the Christmas spirit, expressions of spontaneous giving and self-sacrifice, were exceptional. Northwell Health sent three teams to Barbados, the most recent being two respiratory therapists, assisting a country with which they had no functional connection.

The Nurses Mission was heart-felt and set a new tone in relationships with health officials in Barbados. This saw the group of nine give up their vacation time, pay their own way, take their own supplies, plus orchestrate with the Consulate General more than two containers of PPE and supplies. It reflected Jesus’ mission, with the nurses acting so that others could have a better life, in some cases – life.

Assistance from Barbadian Associations and citizens in the jurisdiction of the New York Consulate were all reflective of the best traditions of the Season of Christmas.

And so there has been great hope amidst the trials, highlighting that where all else fails, goodwill to all will win out. So much of the Christmas story is about lifting spirits. The step taken by Barbados to transition to a Republic in the pandemic gave Barbadians a rallying cause and certainly buoyed the mood of our people.

This Christmas, then, finds us all once more in the mix. But if the celebration of the Season is special for one feature, it is its unique gift of bringing together family and friends and all kinds of people.

This is needed more than ever – the warm embrace of family, simple hugs and kisses and the ability to physically see those who are near and dear and absent for too long.

As we gather, let us all, at this time, do the best we can for family, friends and fellowman – let us cherish the gift of life we have and spare a thought for those who have passed and most of all be mindful of the times and do all we can to be safe. Let us continue the sharing and caring that has only been heightened in the past months and years and especially look for and help those for whom even Christmas is not merry and bright.

But most of all, let’s keep hope alive, utilizing the tools that have been provided to us to cope with the pandemic and trusting our intelligence, history and faith that better days are coming.

It is with that expectation, that, on behalf of the Consulate General of Barbados at New York, our staff and my family, I wish all Barbadians and friends of Barbados the best holidays and peace, health and prosperity in the New Year.

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