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Everything is different this year!

Everything is  different this year!

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At this time of the year, Vincentians tend to boast that St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) must be among the top places in the world to be for Christmas.

We can understand why Vincentians think this, after all, this is home.

But if the numbers of luxury yachts anchored just off shore our islands and private jets parked on our airports’ tarmacs are anything to go by, even in this time of COVID-19, it appears that many non-nationals feel the same way too.

Christmas around the world is about family togetherness, peace and goodwill. Here, we have all that and so much more.

We have much to attract returning nationals and visitors — the beautiful landscape and seascape; our rich culture, especially the catchy Christmas parang; the local Christmas fare; and of course the wonderful people who give a welcome that is hard to match elsewhere.

And with the Nine Mornings and the community light up festivals continuing to develop and decentralize the way they have, we are adding even more family friendly layers to our tourism product.

The Nine Mornings festival officially begins tomorrow morning, and tonight, the Nine Nights at the Botanic Gardens gets underway!

Everything seems the same on a superficial level, but in reality, this year, everything is different. With every plane that lands at our airports and every vessel that docks at our ports, our people’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 increases.

St Vincent and the Grenadines has done very well with our management of the COVID-19 pandemic to date. A few months ago, when there were single digit active cases in our country, our people were far more vigilant and compliant with the recommendations to practice social distancing, wash hands and wear masks. Now that we are at 17 active cases, very little of this is seen.

The number of imported active Covid-19 cases in our country seems to increase each day and we are also hearing about outbreaks in neighbouring countries.

We cannot squander our present status that we have worked so hard to achieve.

As we go about our shopping, visiting with relatives and friends and attendance at Nine Mornings activities, let us keep at the backs of our minds that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic and act accordingly!