OBSERVANCE OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON AND USHERING IN THE NEW YEAR 2023 IN THE OROPOUCHE EAST CONSTITUENCY OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Dr. Vashti Singh, Chairperson of the Education Committee, Oropouche East Constituency Office
Early Church history (30 to 311 AD) referred to an annual mass which celebrated the birth of Christ as the Mass of Christ, or Christ’s Mass. Today it is known as Christmas. Traditionally,with mass at dawn, called the Shepherd’s Mass, Christmas Day began with the brilliance of the rising sun, a symbol of the light of Jesus coming into the world. This light dispels all darkness as we arise on Christmas morning to the risen Christ. On an annual basis, the theme of rebirth in Christmas is epitomised through community outreach to the less fortunate in the Oropouche East Constituency, led by Dr. the Honourable Roodal Moonilal.In the month of December 2022, a host of charitable events and fun activities were undertaken to reach poor families, children from single parent homes, youths at risk and the aged in need of care.The help of relevant personnel was provided for those families and individuals who have been adversely impacted by incidents of violent crimes.Within the walls of churches filled with Christmas cheer, Dr. Moonilal has often inspired people to have faith in light as the dispeller of darkness against the rapid upsurge of crime and danger to which all citizens are exposed.The sound of hymns, prayers, exchange of gifts and best wishes also deepen commitment to create a better society in which all humans are treated equally and with compassion and dignity.
This year’s observance of the Christmas season in Trinidad and Tobago comes at a difficult time. Many citizens in the small twin island are still trying to recover from the devastating effects of excessive flooding which occurred in the latter half of November, 2022. In fact, flooding has been perennial issue in some areas of the Oropouche East Constituency such as Batchyia Trace, Chester Street, Latoo Trace, Suraj Street and parts of Barrackpore.Thousands of constituents have become disheartened amidst the Christmas festivities having lost parts of their homes, vehicles, appliances, livestock, crops and children’s school books among other necessities. Dr. Moonilal, accompanied by his team of staff members including the manager of the Oropouche East Constituency Office, Mr. Joe Sirju, lost no time in taking to the ground and visiting scores of households submerged by water. To bring immediate relief, the Constituency Office solicited financial contributions from the business community, the private sector, NGOS, philanthropists and well wishers. Many constituents of Oropouche East also offered hands-on assistance. Flood victims received food, water, clothing, and a range of essential items to clean up including mops, brooms, buckets, shovels and containers to salvage whatever items they could.The work teams not only assisted in cleaning up the debris but also provided encouragement, motivation and advice for people to cope with their unfortunate circumstances.
Mr. Joe Sirju, Manager of the Oropouche East Constituency Office
Dr. Moonilal’s call for teamwork was not simply confined to Oropouche East as a Constituency …but a call for all to come together in defense of Trinidad and Tobago as a people ,who more than ever, need resilience and solidarity to navigate through difficult and trying times.The flooding encounter in Oropouche East has been described by some constituents as “dark clouds but with a silver lining.” The spirit of Christmas was deepened through cooperation and consensus. People demonstrated the willingness to share responsibility, to work respectfully, to value diverse opinions and to make compromises and build consensus in decision-making for the common good. The ultimate goal was to inspire people to never give up hope that better times lie ahead. Dr. Moonilal has renewed his call for the government to commit to working together with the Opposition United National Congress. He emphasised the imperative to tackle critical challenges that continue to plague the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, notably: perennial flooding, increased crime and violence, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, family disintegration, drug addiction, child abuse, poor roads and infrastructure and even a lack of water so vital for sustenance. As an Opposition Member of Parliament, Dr. Moonilal reinforced that we will always have different perspectives in addressing the ills of society; however, we must never fail to find the common ground to advance as a people and as a nation.Even in disagreement and dissension we must pave the way for progress.
Dr.the Honourable Roodal Moonilal, Deputy Political Leader of the Opposition United National Congress and Member of Parliament for the Oropouche East Constituency
I will conclude with Happy New Year Wishes for 2023 from Dr.the Honourable Roodal Moonilal as follows:
As we approach the New Year, let us reflect that caring for people with compassion is the foundation upon which any prosperous society is built. Through the redesign of governance systems in the twenty-first Century, caring is mostly mediated through institutions, often massive, complex, autocratic, impersonal, and divorced from the realities of human deprivation and suffering.If a nation is to become progressive, it must first become one that is caring and just with equitable treatment meted out to all its people.The people of Oropouche East have tremendous potential to rise above challenges and improve the prospects for Trinidad and Tobago to become a first world country. .
Looking at 2023 and beyond, I give the assurance that the Oropouche East Constituency will continue to promote and defend the principles of democracy, uphold the rule of law and good governance and ensure the active involvement of people of all walks of life in the process of integration toward sustainable development. Together we will never falter in advocating for crime fighting measures to ensure your safety and protection, as a matter of immediate urgency. Let us move forward with faith and confidence in our national watchwords- Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve.These words, I believe, stand as a testimony to our maturity as a people.
I wish to sincerely thank all my staff members and the charitable organisations that assisted in bringing immediate relief to thousands of flood victims in the Oropouche East Constituency. To the many constituents and community groups who worked long hours on a voluntary basis, I say a special thank you – to each and everyone of you. As a team we worked together strenuously and never gave up the indomitable spirit that defines us as a people.
Part of the beauty of celebrating the theme of rebirth at Christmas and ushering in a New year in the Oropouche East Constituency is the people’s renewed hope in light over darkness for a better quality of life. I wish you all a joyous holiday season and a very happy New Year 2023. May you and your families be blessed with good health, happiness, and prosperity. May God bless all our fellow citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.