In what is likely to be his last Christmas greeting to the nation as Head of State, President George Maxwell Richards has expressed his feelings of hope for Trinidad and Tobago this holiday season.
"The joy of the Christmas season points to hope for a brighter future, as we look to the entrance of the New Year, with many possibilities which, to some extent, our own attitudes determine. We must be careful not to miss the joy, the peace, the goodwill, so much talked and sung about, at this time. Some of us are better placed to make it happen for others and we should not fail in this," Richards said in a statement yesterday.
The President said citizens should consider as a general Christmas wish "that we become a deeply listening people, a more caring people with a vision that bespeaks our confidence in what each one of us, at whatever level, is capable of doing, if we are willing and are allowed to, to ensure that our potential for good becomes reality, in every sphere".
"Let us, together, strive for genuine peace, which is not necessarily the absence of war, thereby creating an atmosphere in which goodwill to all will thrive," he said.
President Richards noted the year 2012 has been a defining year for the country.
"For one thing, we celebrated our 50th anniversary of Independence and, in the midst of our celebrations, we had opportunity to reflect on a number of things that are pertinent.
"Not least, attention was drawn to those who contributed to laying the foundations for our independent status and saw us through the years leading up to this milestone.
"We would have had ample testimony of great strides that we have made, collectively and through the strivings of individuals who went beyond the ordinary to make superlative notes, at home and at the international level. Our achievements must be applauded and must stand as a beacon for all of us, as we move into the future.
"If we are realistic, we would also have noted the several areas in which we could have done much better and we would admit that, at all levels, we must take ownership of the shortfalls. That is what the maturing process is aboutótaking responsibility and doing what we must," he said.
"Whatever the challenges, we have demonstrated, as a people, the ability to vent our feelings in ways that sometimes remove comfort, but we have resisted, by and large, the temptation to lose hope," said the President.
"My family joins me in wishing you, in a lasting way, all the good that Christmas signifies, with the hope that you will be poised to receive many blessings in 2013 and beyond. May God bless our Nation!" he said.