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Rededicating our nation for 2008

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At the beginning of a new year, I wish to extend prayerful good wishes to all my fellow citizens, whether it be Vincentians at home, or those of our friends or loved ones who have to endure the winters in distant lands. It is once again time to reflect on the achievements of the past year, with the hope of meeting our current causes with an abundance of good will. {{more}}In so doing, we must at all expense avoid a deficit of hope, and be directed by Paul’s note to the Philippians, which instructed that we ought to “reach forth unto those things which are before and to press towards the mark”.

We are living in challenging times. As a nation, we owe a great debt to all the public and private service workers who are serving with the best of their aptitude. In 2008, we must continue to build our capacity as a people. The ability of a country to follow a sustainable developmental path is determined to a large extent by the capacity of its people and its institutions to critically address the prerequisites, which guide social, political and economic achievement. It is in this light that our communities must at all times be seen as fundamental institutions in the development process.

When one is placed in a position to analyse our circumstances, it is clear that we have struggled with many misfortunes as a people, which is only natural as we strive to build and nurture a distinct and successful nation. His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie 1, speaking in his time on issues of faith and the centrality to God to the development of a nation, noted that “Today man sees all his hopes and aspirations crumbling before him. He is perplexed and knows not whither he is drifting. But he must realize that the Bible is his refuge and the rallying point for all humanity. In it man will find the solution to his present difficulties and guidance for his future action, and unless he accepts with clear conscience the Bible and its great message, he cannot hope for salvation. For my part I glory in the Bible.” As we celebrate the New Year, we must look with hope to the year ahead and the opportunities it will bring.

Let us prepare to open our spirits to embrace the good to be derived if we all work together for the common good of our nation’s development. To understand the concept of nation-building, one needs to have some definition of what a nation is. Early conceptualisations of a nation defined it as a group or race of people who share a common history, traditions, and culture, sometimes religion, and usually language. Nation-building is a normative concept that means different things to different people. However, at the centre of any definition must be the advancement of our people through our faith and trust in God, which will be a fulfillment of the teachings garnered from our nation’s constitution that “our nation is founded on the belief in the supremacy of God”. It is, therefore, my humble view,that a free nation is founded on two important tenets, (1) the Supremacy of God, and (2) the education of its people. It is in this regard that as youth we must hold true to the values of integrity in public life that will be expected of us. The word integrity suggests a strong sense of morality, up-rightness and honesty, which should be the hallmark of us all.

The social problems which we face as a people is testimony to the fact that there is a great deal of work still to be done among us. Indeed we have come a long way. There is, however, a great need for more work to be done to bolster our community structures. We must, therefore, seek to become better organized with a strong sense of social cohesion. The path for development remains clear ahead. We must now search our inner selves carefully, so that we can bring out the best in us.

If one is to assess the ascension of our nation’s youth to positions of great esteem in recent times, it is clear that the approach to entrust confidence in our youth is more than a one off event; instead it is a clear national policy. As youth, temptations would abound, but we must at all times be loyal to our never failing conscience. We must embrace a new vista as it relates to our culture, our people and our region. This new code of conduct ought to be one, which is modern in nomenclature, and multidimensional in its acceptance of all human beings as being equal.

Let us keep in our prayers today, the less fortunate, our brothers and sisters who are living with the deadly disease AIDS, the people of Pakistan as they grieve the death of a slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the people of the middle east and the many other nations which are at war, the afflictions which face many African states and our own challenges to integrate our region.

The patriotic young Vincentian who intends to become actively involved in charting the destiny of our people, and our region, and the building of a modern Vincentian society must feel both chastened and challenged by the verdict outlining the critical need for an exceptional cadre of multi-talented youth, who would be able to effectively, and in an efficient manner, manage, plan, structure and govern both their lives and the life of this our blessed nation.

Over the past year, we have reached important goals and confronted new challenges. I see a great day coming for us as a nation, but we must first be eager for the work ahead.

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