By Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson
Leader of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM)
It is a New Year – New Opportunities! New Possibilities! New Dreams! New Vision!
God in His wisdom and mercy has granted us the gift of a New Year and what we do with this gift is up to us. May we unwrap this gift with care, gratitude and a mind to positively impact our country, our region and our world.
Whilst individually we may set resolutions for many aspects of our lives, we need to ensure that one includes taking our civic responsibilities seriously and strengthening our civic commitments. Too many of us are sitting in the seat of apathy. Some of us who are can and are expected to do more unfortunately pour our energies elsewhere while the seeds of negativity, discord and maliciousness; deliberate and unintentional misinformation, mistruths and misunderstandings flourish and linger. I challenge us all to search ourselves and see whether our actions and inactions account for positivity or negativity. I challenge us this year to become more active citizens who are committed to the building up of our country and not to its further ruin by our actions or inactions. We lie as it were in ruins and it is an ideal place to stop, think, evaluate, plan and rebuild positively laying each important block, one at a time. But we need maturity and commitment from informed, hardworking, focused and selfless builders. I charge us who understand the issues to share them, help to educate our youth and our citizenry without manipulating the facts or diluting it with opinions that it becomes unrecognizable. Much is required from leaders in every facet of society and we cannot and must not shy away from the responsibility of leading in what will be a challenging year. Misinformation and confusion must not be allowed any place in this New Year in our land.
Likewise, we need to set resolutions for our country. Our country for far too long appears to be moving on auto pilot status without a flight plan. The PDM has always had a plan and this is why the PDM supported an Opposition-led motion to hold a national symposium to prepare a broad plan and strategy, why we supported the formation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Revenue and why we continued in the past year to enquire in the actions of the government seeking to find out its plans and policies. Let us take the time to learn and understand the issues, consider them and plan solutions that we can all commit to. We need a plan for Turks and Caicos and once this plan is formulated, every child, every man, every woman, every home, every employer, every employee and every civil servant must know it and know their individual roles. But until this is formulated, I urge us all to seek until we find our individual purpose and then we can collectively achieve our country’s goal from our respective places always remembering that we all have a part to play. It is not only the role of the government or the civil servant, or the major player in the private sector to realize our national goals.
Let us in this New Year, once we have identified and set national goals, let us purpose to move as a unit towards them and let us combine our efforts nationally towards their achievement. Let us appreciate that specific methods may be different, opinions will differ but the Vision must be the same. Let us not be blinded by selfish ambitions or false sense of importance.
I am not daunted by the challenges ahead – seen and unseen. As an optimist, I believe there is nothing that we cannot face with pride and dignity and nothing that we cannot overcome with God. However whilst we trust Him, we must work towards the end we wish to see. May our challenges knock us to our knees and may God be restored to his rightful place.
I charge us to learn and read as much as we can about the issues and form positions only from the facts – keep informed! Secondly, I charge us to find areas where we can volunteer in an area of national importance -- help to mentor our youth, protect and share our heritage, tidy our Islands, help our elderly, juveniles, prisoners and special needs citizens. There are many civic organisations whose work will be lighter with more hands – volunteer and make a difference!
Demand and desire a National Plan, find your role, try to see the good and the opportunities to improve personally and nationally, shun the negative thoughts and actions, avoid selfish destructive behavior, read and learn as much as you can, volunteer and commit to the cause of rebuilding what can be the best little country. Above all be a voice, be a positive voice!
I encourage us to make individual steps to make a national impact and to achieve our national goals.
On behalf of the Peoples’ Democratic Movement, the Official Opposition and our families, we wish for you a Prosperous New Year. We remain committed to addressing the issues, proposing solutions and working in the best interest of these Islands.
We remain your humble servants.