Christmas Message from Eugene Hamilton Parliamentary Representative for Constituency # 8 St. Kitts

Each December, thousands of Kittitians and Nevisians find themselves spending more money than they can really afford, taking on more responsibilities than they can comfortably handle, and spending less relaxed time with their families than at any other time of the year.

We know that Christmas is dramatically different now from what it was many years ago. Religious traditions nurtured for centuries have been replaced with moneymaking focuses.

There has been no better example than the mad rush that a Government policy has caused when an announcement was made that there will be duty free allowances of up to $1,500.00 on imported goods during the month of December.

The boats to St. Maarten were packed to capacity and the return leg has shown that millions were spent by our people bringing in goods so as to benefit from the duty-free opportunity.

A more recent phenomenon took place yesterday after pressure made the

Minister of Finance cave in and announce that VAT would be reduced from 17% to 7% for one calendar day.

While those examples stand out, the marketing strategies of the business places in St. Kitts and Nevis have by their conduct for the past weeks and the response of the customers also demonstrate the growing commercial nature of the Advent and Christmas season.

In all of the hustle I trust that we do not forget the reason for the Christmas season; while we celebrate what has been described as 40-40, I trust that we take the time to ask ourselves some important questions; How can I recapture the joy of an old-fashioned Christmas?

How can I share my holiday values with my children? How can I have a rich celebration without straining the family budget? How can I nurture the spiritual side of the celebration? What can I do at Christmas to help people who are less fortunate? How can I entertain my family and friends without making it a huge undertaking? How can I save time on holiday productions and still give my family a memorable Christmas?

Have you stopped long enough this season to ask yourself why you are doing all the things that you are doing during the Season? Have you sat down and written down why you want to celebrate Christmas? Have you actually asked yourself what you believe about this season of the year and what is really important to you?

If you have not yet stopped to ponder over some or all of these questions then it is time to do so; and as you do, remember that for the month so far that is usually described as the Season of Advent, you should give thanks for having come this far and with your family, clasp hands and pray for tomorrow is the day that we celebrate the birth of

Christ; the one who died for us on the cross for the redemption of our sins.

Although this year has been a challenging year and although the year ahead looks rather bleak I pray for the good health of us all that we may have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful year ahead. To my constituents, I say that God has brought us through so far and he will not desert us now, so let us continue to watch and pray; and may you continue to accept God’s guidance. Have a Merry Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year.

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