Christmas Day came and went and so did Boxing Day. It seems that most Guyanese, with a few noteworthy exceptions, had an enjoyable time. Christmas is a sacred time and the true meaning and essence of this time should not be forgotten.
The financial pinch due to job losses, especially in the sugar industry, and the declining prospects for new graduates coming into the job market, has resulted in a bleak outlook for many who are struggling to put food on the table.
Even though it would have taken a miracle to ensure that everyone in need gets a helping hand at Christmas, the private and public sectors also did their best to make Christmas an enjoyable experience for many.
It is said that poverty often hides in plain sight. And too often, it has been overlooked by many of us who assume that those who do not seek help are not in need. This is where government agencies, communities and neighbours can make a big difference if they have their ears to the ground and are connected to the lives of the people around them.
Unfortunately, communities have increasingly become casualties of modern life, as crime and economic inequity have driven the rich and powerful into enclaves with gated communities. Alongside them are the poor and downtrodden in ghettoes. But, it is not only the economically deprived who need our special attention.
As the country’s leading newspaper, Kaieteur News has documented the life of the nation for over two decades and it is acutely aware of the large number of people whose lives have been overwhelmed by the unexpected pain of the loss of loved ones.
There is a lot of sadness in our land, especially during and in the post-Christmas season. Therefore, we must continue to help the hundreds of children whose parents’ lives have been senselessly cut down by crime; recognize the pain of families whose mothers, daughters or a female relative have been killed by domestic violence and those loved ones who have been suddenly taken away by traffic accidents.
Then there are those whose lives have been affected by the brutal touch of banditry, even though their lives were not lost.
Apart from the aforementioned, there is abundant suffering from mental illness, substance abuse and the unending scourge of homeless, which no one seems to have an answer to. Over the years, the publisher of this newspaper has made it an annual ritual at Christmas time to reach out in expressions of caring and sharing to bring cheer and joy to hundreds of children and adults.
The residents of nearby communities can attest to what this has meant to them.
On the brighter side of things, holiday spending seems to have surged this Christmas. Although data is not yet available, retail experts have predicted that spending has increased substantially this year compared to last year Christmas. This could boost the economy and possibly enhance the prospects for future investment.
Let us not close our minds to the pain behind the smiles of the many for whom just putting one foot forward has become a difficult task. Our salvation as a people rests not in our success or our individual capacity to look after ourselves and our relatives and friends, but in our strength, empathy and willingness to help the less fortunate during Christmas and in the post-Christmas spirit as well.
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