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Friday, August 18 2017 @ 06:10 PM AST

Community Development Ministry celebrates Christmas

General News

The following is the address (verbatim) delivered by Community Development Minister, the Honourable Nizam Baksh at the Ministry's Christmas luncheon on December 10, 2010.

Protocols observed.

Merry Christmas. It is really good to have you all here. I want to thank you all for joining us today, as we formally observe the Christmas season here at the Ministry of Community Development. This is a very exciting time here at the Ministry, for me, and for our Community Development family.

Looking around, at the décor both here and inside the building, you can understand why this is one of my favourite times of the year.
Staff got together to make this event happen. They planned the programme. They organised the decorations, the menu, the parang, and the carols you have heard and will be hearing during the rest of the day. In many ways, this is really what the Ministry of Community Development is all about. It is a people’s ministry. It is a Ministry spread all across the country. It is Ministry where everyone feels welcome. This is the Ministry that embodies the First of Government’s Seven Interconnected Pillars for Sustainable Development, “We Need Everyone and All Can Contribute – People-Centred Development.”

This is why I have made it my personal mission to strengthen the camaraderie at the Ministry, through events like this one, through events like our Eid celebration, our Divali celebration and our Emancipation celebration. We have also been encouraging staff to take a minute to get to know the people we work with, through our monthly get-togethers, first for cake and ice cream, and then for doubles, and there is more to come.

So I want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped to pull this event together -- all of our decorators, all of the artistes, all the planners, all the staff of the Ministry. Every member of staff who got involved in staging this event, did so in addition to their regular work schedule and all voluntarily.
That same spirit of volunteerism is what brings joy to so many people at this time of year. During the Christmas season, people tend to volunteer more to help the less fortunate, to feed the hungry, to clothe the poor, to visit the sick or to co-sponsor a children’s party. That spirit of love, kindness and generosity is really what Christmas is all about.
This is also the idea behind this year’s initiative to present a small gift to each member of staff. It is my hope that each gift will serve as a reminder that we must also give of ourselves to our fellow human beings, at Christmas and beyond.

The gift that you give this Christmas does not have to be grand or expensive. The greatest blessings of all are often the ones that cost nothing, love and this is what we have to share freely. Apart from volunteering in some way this Christmas, I urge you all to spend more time with your loved ones; to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy as Trinidadians and Tobagonians, and to reach out to persons in need.
Through your service to others, you can demonstrate what it really means to celebrate Christmas; to give rather than to receive; to share rather than to withhold; to reflect and to pray.

No matter the race, creed or class, this time of year is meaningful to all, because it is not just Christmas, it is the end of the year, and the close of a decade.
For people of all faiths, and for those of no faith, this is a time for reflection. It is a time when we must ask ourselves, “What did we do well this year, and what can we do better in the next?” No matter how we fared in the first few years of this new millennium, let this not be a lost decade, but at the very least, 10 years’ of invaluable life experience gained.
As Minister of Community Development, I have had the privilege to meet the men and women who propel the engines of progress in this Ministry and in communities all across this country.

As a former Community Development Officer and Supervisor myself, I was one of you. Now, I consider myself to still be one of you, because for me, this is what it means to hold public office.

Now, Christmas is an opportunity for us to serve our communities, but there are people in need all around the country, all year-round. So there are just as many opportunities to help. This Christmas, there will be countless opportunities to put a smile on the faces of the children not likely to receive a gift. During this season and beyond, I hope as many of us as possible, seek the joy of making tomorrow brighter for the less fortunate.

In closing, I want to thank you all for coming. I hope you enjoy yourselves here today. I thank you all for another year of service.
To my Christian brothers and sisters: this is your time of the year. So we wish you a Merry Christmas and a very prosperous and bright new year.
Thank you very much, and may God bless you.

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CREDITS: Photo courtesy the Ministry of Community Development

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