PR – Fellow Grenadians, the Yuletide season is upon us and it is beginning to look and feel like Christmas. In fact, as I walked briefly through the streets of the capital on Wednesday morning and interacted with vendors outside of the Kirani James National Stadium, I got the sense that many people are feeling the joys of the season. Indeed we ought to be thankful that God continues to richly bless this nation and its people.
I am personally heartened to see the uptick in activity in recent days and several members of our business community have also reported increased sales, a welcomed development after so many months of reduced activity due to the impact of COVID-19.
In addition to its ongoing role in facilitating a business-friendly environment that generates continuous growth in private sector investment, the Government of Grenada is pleased to have played a role in boosting economic activity this Christmas. Government takes very seriously, its responsibility to uplift the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Although it is a tremendous sacrifice to provide the extra salaries for public officers, the additional COVID-19 relief and cost of living measures announced in the 2022 budget and the stimulus package to benefit various categories of workers across the country, we are first and foremost, a Government for, of and by the people. Therefore, we do whatever is necessary in the best interest of our country and people.
While we love to see you add a little Christmas cheer, we encourage you to be responsible in your spending as January usually seems to be a very long month. Also, COVID-19 continues to be far-reaching and unpredictable in its impact on our country and people.
So far this week, the Ministry of Health has reported a total of 21 new cases, figures we have not seen in a while. This drives home the point that the threat of COVID-19 continues to exist. We have experienced the impact of a national shutdown and we are certainly not keen to have to resort to that again, therefore our actions over this festive season will determine what happens in our country in the next few weeks.
The Christmas season is usually very festive, complete with lots of socialising and indulgence. Like you, I am also looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends. However, I hasten to caution that we must not drop our guard; we must continue
to maintain the recommended protocols which are intended to keep us all safe. It is imperative that we accept our personal responsibility.
The past two years have presented an unprecedented challenge for us all and during the period August to October, we were particularly hard hit, losing many of our loved ones. Thankfully, we have managed to put that period behind us and we look forward to 2022 with great anticipation. However, to realise those dreams, we must continue to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Grenadians.
Many countries are still battling against Delta but already, the latest variant, Omicron is surging across many cities, causing countries to ponder closure of their borders yet again. The world seems to be caught up in this perpetual cycle of opening up and shutting down as we try to find the right balance of measures that will best protect our people. The critical point is that fighting COVID-19 requires a collaborative effort that is firmly rooted in taking greater personal responsibility for our actions. Therefore, we must all do our part.
My friends, I have repeatedly spoken about the importance of vaccination and it is important to reiterate this message. I must commend those of you who are fully vaccinated, and to encourage you to take the booster as I have done, which is recommended to better protect us. To those who have not opted for vaccination, I implore you to see the benefit of this, protect yourselves, protect your family and safeguard your livelihood.
Another critical element in the fight against COVID-19 is knowing your status. This week, the Ministry of Health embarked on an intensified testing drive. In addition to wearing your masks and maintaining the appropriate physical distance, knowing your status is important to determine your responsible course of action. Therefore, I encourage you to get tested and to get vaccinated, the life you save might be your own.
In the coming days, additional long-term testing and vaccination sites will be announced as Government seeks to make these services more accessible to people across the country and to improve our efficiency in the delivery of test results.
My friends, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Therefore, in closing, I beseech you, let us stand united in the fight against this common enemy and let us be responsible in our actions as we celebrate the festivity of the Christmas season. There is only so much that the Government can regulate and the police can enforce. At the end of the day, personal responsibility is critical and we must each play our role in fighting this dreaded disease. I wish you the very best for the holiday season, please continue to be safe.
I thank you.