Barbadians have been urged to enjoy the Christmas festivities, but “not to engage in excesses”.
This advice came last evening from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, shortly before he participated in his Ministry’s Community Christmas Carolling Programme — Sharing, Caring and Healthy Living at Christmas — which started at Gall Hill Play Park and travelled through surrounding districts, with its final stop at Silver Hill Housing Area, Christ Church.
Lashley said: “I know that Christmas is a time of merriment and joy, but I want those who will be driving, for example, not to engage in drinking alcoholic beverages. In addition, within the home environment, we still have to ensure that we eat healthy and we are moderate in our habits.
“The importance of Christmas is about the birth of Christ and I would like to encourage as many Barbadians as possible to attend church, even if they have not attended for the whole year… So, my sole wish for Barbadians is to enjoy Christmas, and to find a way, through whatever means, to regain that spiritual connection with God.”
Lashley pointed out that his ministry staged a series of successful concerts throughout the community last year, but opted for carolling sessions this time, utilising school and church choirs, as well as tuk bands strolling through various districts sharing the spirit of Christmas.
Emphasising the importance of the programme at this time, the minister pointed out that it would promote positive activities such as giving and sharing. In addition, he disclosed that the message about HIV and AIDS was also being shared during the carolling sessions by the HIV and AIDS educators from the Youth Development Programme of the Division of Youth.
He expressed the view that the carolling programme “will provide a psycho-educational intervention aimed at bringing about a greater awareness and prevention” of HIV.
He added: “It is designed to arrest the potential and disastrous risky sexual behaviour, as well as the elimination of stigma and discrimination against those persons affected with HIV and AIDS.”
During the week-long carolling programme, educational toys will be distributed to children under 12-years-old, while HIV and AIDS educators will distribute literature, paraphernalia and appropriate information to householders.
Those partnering with the Ministry to host the Community Christmas Carolling Programme include the National Cultural Foundation, the Constituency Councils, and the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat.
The carolling programme’s schedule and start points are as follows: Thursday, December 20, at Half Moon Fort Primary School, St. Lucy; Friday, December 21, at St. John Primary School; Saturday, December 22, at YMPC; and Monday, December 24, in Bridgetown.