Your brother’s keeper

Dennis De Peiza, General Secretary, Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados

I bring season’s greetings from the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados to all Barbadians, both at home and abroad.

As tradition would have it, Christmas is a time for giving and sharing, the expression of love and care, and most importantly, an occasion where family and friends come together to celebrate and cement the bond that exists.

There has always been the tendency to remember the less fortunate at this time of year. Usually, attention is placed on the destitute and poor. This year it is important to remind our Barbadian people, that there are increasing numbers amongst us who fall into this category. For many persons, Christmas would not be the same this year, as they find themselves amongst the thousands who formed part of the 11 per cent of the workforce that is currently unemployed.

It is almost inevitable that the fallout from the current economic recession will be an issue occupying the attention of many. However, this development provides the perfect opportunity for our people to demonstrate that they understand the true spirit of Christmas.

The call today is for all Barbadians to put Christ in their Christmas. As a Christian society we are expected to be our brother’s keeper. Our appeal therefore is directed to every Barbadian irrespective of colour, class, race or creed, to reach out to those who are in need.

I suggest that as a people we should seek to maintain the spirit of Christmas for 365 days a year. Our society should therefore be characterised by the symbols of peace and joy, which are associated with Christmas.

It is therefore imperative that this society condemns acts of crime and violence, gang warfare, the use of illegal guns, the trafficking and use of illegal drugs, and the trafficking of persons as sex workers, as these threaten to overrun our society.

We must stand up against any immoral and unethical acts, and any injustices in whatever forms that can potentially impact negatively on a developing Barbadian society. The image of Barbados as an endearing, peaceful and stable society should not be allowed to be smeared. It is for every loyal son and daughter to accept personal responsibility in ensuring that any perceived threat is eliminated before it takes root.

If we are to follow the examples and teachings of Christ whose birthday we are celebrating, it requires that the society reminds those who occupy leadership roles and who are placed in positions of trust and confidence that they must lead by example and remain accountable to the people.

As we celebrate Christmas in this, the land we called the Gem of the Caribbean, let’s give thanks to God for the many blessings which he has bestowed on us as a people. Let us at this time remember those in our neighbouring Caribbean islands, North America, China and elsewhere, who have suffered loss from natural and other disasters during the year.

Let us pray for continued political and industrial relations peace at home and in countries across the world.

On behalf of the labour movement of Barbados, it is our Christmas wish that Barbadians will continue to reflect the pride and industry for which our people are renowned, and that the working population will continue to be resilient and contribute through effort and enterprise, to overcoming the current economic challenges that threaten to change the social landscape of Barbados.

On behalf of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, I wish one and all a Merry Christmas.

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