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Christmas amidst difficult times


Thu, Dec 22. 2011

There is no doubt that celebrating Christmas with the usual Vincentian flavour is turning out to be a more challenging experience this year. The difficult state of the global economy and its impact on countries, big and small, rich and poor alike, is a fact of life which we must all face.{{more}} The statistics are there for us all to see, whether from the international financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), our regional institutions such as the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, or our own local forecasts from both sides of Parliament in the recent debate on the 2012 Estimates; they all add up to the same sum – it is not going to be easy next year.

This makes the customary Christmas celebrations more of a financial burden this year. Already, many persons have been expressing their views comparing this year to last year’s Christmas season, concluding that the latter was better, in an economic sense. The economic difficulties in the USA and UK in particular must have affected the inflow of remittances, meaning that there is less available for spending. In spite of this, it speaks volumes of the sacrifices of many of our migrants that they have still been able to keep up with the Christmas barrel programme and so bring relief and cheer to so many dependents here at home.

That says a lot about their commitment to home and family. But it also speaks volumes about what Christmas means to Vincentians, at home and abroad. It is a time of year to which Vincentians, arguably, demonstrate a greater commitment than any other Caribbean nationality. The Nine Mornings activities are but one aspect of it, but we have made a name for celebrating Christmas ‘Vincy style’.

Over the years, our private sector has been gradually evolving and the grand response last Sunday, the last Sunday before Christmas, to Sunday shopping demonstrated how far we have gone. Yet, for the many who are less fortunate, spending Christmas this year in the customary way will be very challenging, and, for the rest of the population, the financial restrictions will at least ensure moderation in the scale of celebrations.

This is not necessarily a bad thing since it can help to literally “cut the fat” out of our excesses, to which we tend to succumb during this season. It can assist us to be more realistic, and less ambitious in our choices. Already we have heard musical compositions from our enterprising artistes (the Bowmans, CP etc.), exhorting Vincentians to think local and to ensure that Christmas is not about exotic imports, but innovative, nutritious and rewarding Vincy products. If the economic climate nudges us in that direction, then we will at least recognize the wisdom in the saying, “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good”.

SEASONS GREETINGS to all from the Management and Staff of SEARCHLIGHT! Have a truly VINCY CHRISTMAS!