Tag Archive: Christmas


Christmas in St Vincent and the Grenadines over the years have been an idyllic symbol of life in paradise so having a Christmas Day with floods, death and mourning was unthinkable until today.Eight persons are confirmed dead so far; I am writing this blog at 6:45 PM on Christmas Day. Residents living between Layou and Prospect are to expect no running water in their homes before Saturday December 28, 2013. sixty two persons are homeless, five persons are still missing and there are about five other persons who have sustained injuries.

Vincy Christmas Day 2013

 

This all started with those iconic words “the night before Christmas”. It was at that time yesterday, Christmas Eve that rains started pouring. The villages to the north of the island seemed to have been most critically damaged or devastated.

The overflowing of the rivers became the driving force of the havoc and displacement that have been experienced. A river in Vermont overflowed its banks and flowed into the streets. It further invaded the homes of residents and swept away household items such as clothing, appliances and Christmas amenities.

The Buccament Beach Resort was damaged very badly. In fact, one of its female employees was washed away in the night and her body recovered early Christmas morning.

The capital city of Kingstown was not spared the raves of its rivers, with many streets and businesses being gutted by persistent waters. There was an early report of a vehicle being washed away along the North River Road in the vicinity of the Kingstown Catholic Church.

Elsewhere on the island other vehicles suffered a similar fate as vicious rivers overtook pathways and roads on their unstoppable journey to the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean.

The main hospital, the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital was flooded as well and some information indicated that there were patients who had to be relocated from some wards.

The sole functioning airport, the ET Joshua airport in Arnos Vale had to be closed until mid day on Christmas Day because of the flooding of the compound as well.

One of the truly sad events was when a landslide came crashing down on a house in the leeward village of Rose Bank, killing all five family members inside. Never before had Vincentians have to deal with multiple deaths under such simple circumstances.

And to have it happen the night before Christmas made it even  more painfully unbearable.

There were major landslides in places such as Cumberland, Barrouallie, Park Hill, South Rivers and Georgetown. Many critical bridges on the Windward side were rendered impassable or structurally unsafe for heavy vehicles to use.

A male relative of Prime Minister Dr Hon. Ralph Gonsalves died when a stone rolled into his dwelling house in Park Hill. The Prime Minister happened to have been in London at the time but he rescheduled his return flight to come back home on Boxing Day.

Kingstown

 

This made Christmas a Christmas to remember. All day long Vincentians and relatives were calling in to the on-going interactive radio programmes to share and gather information.

The only other time that the country was traumatized so close to Christmas would have been twenty five years ago, when on December 21, 1988, Vincentian recording artiste Walter Porter died when Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 persons on board and 11 on the ground. That tragedy was the work of terrorists who placed a powerful bomb on the plane.

The Christmas carols and music virtually became non existent. What a Christmas Day 2013!

Most of us in the western world have a very easy time expressing our religious views and practices. However, the oil-rich African nation of Nigeria is becoming the battle ground for one of the world’s critical modern day contest for religious supremacy.

Christianity, which is quite common in the Caribbean is under violent attacks from Muslims. over five hundred Christians have been killed during the past year in Nigeria. The country is geographically split between the Muslims, who occupy the north, and the Christians who are more populous in southern Nigeria.

On Christmas Day alone, scores of Christians were killed when a car bomb was detonated near a church during services.

The group of Islamists carrying out these deadly acts of violence against their Christian countrymen call themselves a name meaning “Western Education Is Evil”. Their aim is clear: to make all of Nigeria one nation of Islam. in other words, no other faith or religious sect must be allowed to flourish in Nigeria.

The Christians in Nigeria have commented that they will take actions to protect themselves. It means that Nigeria is most likely about to face off with a religious war that can shatter its international image and world tourism prospects. Of course, the economic fall out given its status as an oil producing giant, is not going to comfort or stabilize investors wallets and confidence in Nigeria.

The government has been ridiculed and criticized for being unable to take corrective action to stem the killings of Christians by the Islamist group the government calls Boko Haram. Its beloved president, Goodluck Jonathan, is facing the defining challenge of his presidency. His critics are insisting that he is incompetent and incapable of dealing with the Muslim group carrying out the attacks.

The western world has to be wary of the jihad focus of the Islamic world. While Christians as well would endeavour to see all the world united under the umbrella of Christ, they would not be blowing other religious sects to eternity in order to realize their earthly goal.

This is a time when Christians from other nations must meet in prayer and offer united spiritual support to their siblings in Nigeria. After all, when one sees his neighbour’s house on fire one must wet his own house down.

The way we celebrate Christmas has been changing quite a bit over the last decade or two. The older citizens would tell us of their days of serenading during the night’s cold hours. Sleeping families would be awaken by a chorus of voices echoing Christmas songs in the lonely and otherwise quiet night.

The use of spirited alcohol has continued to be a favourite drinking choice during this season. So, too, have the traditional black cake and home made bread remained with us. Those of us who grew up in the 20th century would have looked forward to playing with our toy guns. After lunch on Christmas Day, it would have been much “popping” of gun shots among the village boys as they played Shooting.

Of course, toy guns have since been banned after it became clear that the real guns were being heard more than the toys.

A recent addition to Christmas now is the opening up of the stores on Sunday afternoons for shoppers. At first it was a rather relaxing new experience to go into town on a Sunday with one’s family or just to take in the quiet scenes. But now Sunday afternoon shopping has more crowds than even the national Carnival held in the city each year.

It has become a definite boom for the commercial sector. But it also shows that for many people, the importance of Christmas is directly linked to commercial spending and not on heavenly blessings. As the world’s economy finds it harder to keep money in the pockets of the consumer it is safe to predict that Christmas as we know it today is dying a commercial death.

Because Christmas means buying and getting all things physical and new,   when money is hard to come by then persons will not  be able to “celebrate” Christmas any more.

It is then up to those of us who know what Christmas is all about to celebrate Jesus all year round. Our commemoration of His birth in December must never be left to the business community’s ability to afford some sales promotions.

 

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