Against the backdrop of a massive recovery exercise and the lingering remnants of the devastating Hurricane Maria, Dominicans put aside their troubles for a few hours and enjoyed the spirit of the Christmas season at the annual party hosted by prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his wife Melissa on the grounds of State House.
Over 400 parents and children from the Roseau South, Roseau North and Roseau Central attended the event.
Children were treated to fun-filled activities and other goodies.
A day earlier in his Christmas Day Message, Skerrit urged Dominicans to make the season one of praise and thanksgiving.
He acknowledged that while it was not the type of Christmas most were planning for up until September 18, citizens still had much to be thankful for.
“We all bring to this Christmas, and in a real way, our uncertainties about the future, about our homes, our jobs and the physical vulnerabilities that surround us. We bring to this Christmas living experience and evidence of the widespread devastation and destruction that can be caused by climate change and rising sea temperatures on a small island.
“However, with some introspection and a deep examination of the situation in which we found ourselves on the morning of September 19, and comparing it with what prevails today, we have cause to be thankful. Thankful for God’s gift of life; thankful for his call to us for a deeper review of our stewardship of the environment, and thankful for the many friends and benefactors who willingly and spontaneously have come to our aid as we continue to recover from the effects of Hurricane Maria,” he said.
In a brief update on the recovery efforts, Skerrit told Dominicans his Government had received “more than half” of the $2.5 billion required to rebuild, in the form of actual receipts and pledges.
He added that a level of normalcy had returned to daily life in most of the country, particularly in the capital Roseau and in the town of Portsmouth.
Skerrit urged Dominicans to focus on building a renewed Dominica this Christmas.
“The world now believes that we are a resilient people. There is perhaps no better way to demonstrate that resilience by allowing the traditional joy of Christmas to be visible in our gatherings and in how we greet each other on the streets.”