Below is the 2024 New Year message of President Christine Kangaloo:
The arrival of a new year brings with it an opportunity to reflect and to reposition. We reflect on the triumphs and the pains of the past year. And, with the wisdom we have gained through the experience of our triumphs and our pains, we reposition ourselves to face the new year and to make of it the best that we can.
As we reflect on the year that was 2023, we see many triumphs – including the triumph of what would appear to be our full return to normal social and business life, after the dark period of the Covid-19 pandemic. We see triumphs in sports, in music and in academia. We see examples of triumph in the parents who have sacrificed everything for their children’s education, and in the smiles of the children who have excelled at their studies and made their parents justly proud. These are just examples of the many triumphs that our country has been privileged to experience in the past year.
But, as we look back on 2023, we also see pain. We see the pain of families who have lost loved ones to disease, to road accidents, and to crime. We see the pain of the untimely loss in 2023 of many of our country’s beloved artistes and writers. We see the pain of human trafficking and of the abuse of vulnerable citizens – many of them children.
Many of us, looking back at the mix of triumphs and of pains that our country has experienced in 2023, might be tempted to agree with Charles Dickens’ assessment of the period of the French Revolution in “A Tale of Two Cities”, and to say of 2023 that “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”.
I believe that one of the challenges for us as we begin a new year, is to acknowledge the complex and multifaceted nature of the human journey, and to come to terms with the fact that, no matter who or what we are, we all experience both happiness and sorrow, success and failure. I believe that one of the challenges for us, is to embrace this essential duality of the human experience, and not to give up hope in, or because of, moments of pain or disaster. As difficult and as agonising as those moments can be, the challenge is for us to remember that even in the darkest of times, there is potential for positive change and growth. As the Bible says in Psalm 30 Verse 5: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
And so, as we reflect on the year that was 2023, and even as we accept that in life, we will always have and face challenges, let us also remember that we will also have and enjoy successes. Let us reposition our focus, away from only the pains that we all endure, and allow our focus to also embrace the examples of human excellence and potential around us — our innovative and enterprising young people, our talented athletes – and on our potential for greatness as a united, national community. Let us reflect on where we went wrong in 2023, and reposition ourselves at the start of the new year, to move forward in right directions. Let us all go triumphantly into the new year, with boundless faith in our destiny and in our ability to climb every mountain, to conquer every pain, and to fulfil our potential as a country.
My husband and I extend our very best wishes to all for 2024. And may God Bless Our Nation.