The end of the year is a special time for everyone. It marks the pinnacle of individual and collective journeys we have traversed in the course of the year. It is a time to reflect on where we are, as we prepare for the beginning of a new year, which marks a new season in our lives.
It is time for all of us to joyfully reunite with our families and friends so that we rekindle love, re-ignite bonds of human solidarity, and celebrate the gift of life. For many, it is time for meditation, prayer and a fulfilment of spiritual growth and inner peace.
As we reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of 2020, it is time to cast our eyes firmly on new dreams, new possibilities, new hopes and new aspirations for the future of our families, our nation, and ourselves as individuals.
Even in the face of difficulties, the Christmas period is a time for the renewal of our collective resolve as a nation to unite behind the vision of a cohesive and a very inclusive society in pursuit of fundamental freedoms, human rights, peace, and shared prosperity.
We are reminded that, as a human race, we must find our common purpose in building a better world that takes care of all people, irrespective of their race, gender, class and social standing. We are reminded to deepen social solidarity to tackle poverty, social ills and the burden of diseases such as Covid-19, HIV/ AIDS, TB and many other communicable diseases. In this, we call on each and every one of us to reach out, lend a hand and support those who are less fortunate in our communities.
There is no doubt that this 2020 Christmas period is no ordinary festive season. The Year 2020 has been like no other in the recent past. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about hardship, disruptions and pain in our lives.
Throughout the world, we are still locked in the throes of a ravaging Covid-19 pandemic that has decimated lives and livelihoods of many people. The global economy has taken a serious knock due to lockdowns and a restricted trade environment. Here at home, the economic challenges have deepened, resulting in the disruption of business activities and job losses.
While significant progress has been made in containing the spread of infections during the first phase of the pandemic, the current resurgence and rise in infections continue to demand our collective commitment and adherence to all Covid-19 protocols and regulations. We cannot afford to be complacent and let our guard down during this difficult period in our lives.
As we celebrate Christmas with our families and friends, we must at all times adhere to Covid-19 regulations and protocols to ensure that each one of us takes responsibility to prevent further spread of this disease.
Notwithstanding all these setbacks, Christmas inspires a new season of hope, a leap into new vistas of progress and future prospects. We should not despair. This nation shall rise again, and set itself on a path of recovery. Ours is a resilient nation that has over the years, withstood all manner of storms and vicissitudes thrown in its way. We are a nation that has emerged from a divided and painful past, but emerged stronger, united and triumphant in the face of adversity.
Our frontline workers in key sectors of our lives embody our patriotic spirit of commitment, resilience and personal sacrifice. They have put their lives in harms’ way in order to save lives and protect all of us. Some of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation. As we celebrate Christmas, we salute all frontline workers for their bravery, compassion and national duty. We salute each and every one who lost their lives in the line of duty. As ordinary citizens, we must play our part in preventing the spread of Covid-19 infections.
This nation shall rise again as long as we all stand up and work together in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a nation, we will continue to rally behind the leadership of our President to set the economy on a recovery path, and ensure that we progressively reverse the devastating impacts of Covid-19 on society as a whole. As we deal with the resurgence of Covid-19 infections, government will continue to provide targeted support to key economic sectors to foster recovery, and stem the tide of job losses.
More importantly, the readiness of our health system to deal with the increasing burden of new infections remains a key priority. We are confident that all the necessary preparations and interventions are in place to contain the spread of infections and set our country on a recovery path. It is now in our hands as a society to play our part in reversing the spread of the disease and the loss of lives.
As a nation, we must deepen social solidarity, hold each other’s hands and promote love, generosity and compassion during this festive season. We must pull ourselves up, and fight together to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensure that we protect and support the poor and vulnerable people within our society.
During this Christmas period, we must promote peace and safety within our living environments, and work in partnership with law enforcement agencies in our societies in combating gender-based violence and femicide. Our houses, our streets and neighbourhoods must be safe for every child, every woman, person with disability, and every elderly person. Christmas must epitomise freedom from fear, anger, abuse and murder. Christmas is about the expression of love and compassion.
Let the spirit and celebration of Christmas be the solid rock on which we continue to build a united, democratic, non-sexist and prosperous society.
On behalf of the President, Cabinet Colleagues, we wish you and your families a Merry Christmas.