Trinidad and Tobago's three largest political parties have wished citizens a happy Christmas.
In separate greetings yesterday, the United National Congress (UNC), the People's National Movement (PNM) and the Congress of the People (COP) sent messages of peace, love and hope to the people of T&T.
"It is my sincere wish that we allow the gift of honesty to prevail over lies and deception; that we embrace the gift of respect over disrespect and disdain; that we practise forgiveness instead of vindictiveness; that we ensure the gift of kindness takes precedence over wickedness and that the principles of love, justice and equal rights reside strongly within each and every one of us as individuals and over our nation as a whole. If this is done, we will give Trinidad and Tobago the gift of a greater sense of readiness to face whatever challenges that lie ahead," PNM Leader Keith Rowley said.
"'Tis the enchanting season of Christmas; a time of peace, joy and indeed the most wonderful time of the year. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Congress of the People extends best wishes to the nation for a most memorable time," the COP said.
The party reminded people to "keep Jesus Christ in Christmas".
"While we enjoy the festive season, let us remind ourselves of the deeper meaning of Christmas, lest consumerism consumes us. Piety, family bonding, concern for neighbours and charity are some of the values that will ensure we keep Jesus Christ in Christmas. Let's continue to enrich our society with these core values.
"Let us use Christmas 2012 to renew our commitment to ourselves, our neighbours and our country," said COP political leader Prakash Ramadhar, who also reminded people to be careful and drive safely.
UNC chairman Jack Warner said the celebration of the birth, life and legacy of Jesus Christ is a reminder of the potential of every child and that the circumstances of a person's environment should not be a limit to what they should aspire to be or what should be expected of them.
"Today, we grapple with the multi-faceted problem of crime, particularly in the so-called 'hot spots'. And, at Christmas, we must remember that just as God had not forsaken humanity when he gave us His son, we must keep hope alive. We must believe in the human spirit. We must believe that even those who appear to be damned can be redeemed. We must believe that a promising future buds in every child regardless of the social environment or circumstances in which they live. We must look past the exterior and see the life within. We must see that every life is worth saving and therefore it is worth our effort to try to reach out to those who need it and more so those who are crying out for our touch.
"As a national community, this Christmas, we must think about those who are in need of help in whatever form and try to make a positive difference in their lives; whether it is by giving charity, comfort or words of encouragement and support," said Warner, who is also National Security Minister.
Warner also implored citizens to be safe and responsible this Christmas season.