Premier David Burt: Our family reflects on the joy this season brings and what this year has meant to our island as we prepare to transition into a new year.
Mrs. Kristin Burt: As the sounds, sights and smells of this Season fill the air, there is unmistakable excitement. The Christmas Season has a unique feeling and brings a desire for warmth and togetherness. When we reflect on the Christian meaning of this time, we find at the centre of the story a small and humble family.
Over the centuries, family has been a focal point of this season, and as we gather this year, my hope is that families will reconnect and strengthen their relationships. Whether gathered around a tree, sharing a meal, or reaching out to those in need, let us cherish these moments of togetherness and spread the joy and goodwill that define this season.
Premier David Burt: Every year has its challenges, and 2023 has been no different. But those challenges are balanced with successes. Bermudians have distinguished themselves in all walks of life, and few more so than our own Jessica Lewis, who won the gold medal in the 100 meters in the Parapan Games. Her story is a triumph over life’s apparent limitations, transforming her different ability into victory on the world stage.
Some families will be united to continue comforting one another this year, and we remember all of those whose Christmas celebrations lack the presence of a loved one for the first time. In 2023, Bermuda bade farewell to men and women on whose shoulders we stand today. Walter Roberts, Stanley Morton, Sidney Stallard, Michelle Simmons, Arthur Hodgson and, of course, the Father of modern Labour, Ottiwell Simmons. No history of Bermuda can be written without examining their contributions to building our community, and as we remember them, we must remember their sacrifice and service.
Christmas is also about hope. The birth of the Christ-Child represents to the Christian community a new beginning, the fulfilment of a promise made to humankind that the baby of Christmas would become a man to transform the world.
That same hope rises in us as we approach each New Year. Twenty-twenty-four 2024 is full of expectations for a stronger economy and greater community cohesion. Bermuda’s challenges, while magnified because of our size, are not unique.
The world is facing the same issues. The key difference for us is that we are better placed to harness a collective will to work together. We can make the unity of this Season extend beyond New Year’s Day.
I am inspired by the things we have accomplished together in 2023, and the vision for 2024 and beyond is to see growth and success for Bermuda and her people. We need not fear taking our place on the world stage beyond the sporting arena. Bermuda is a mature society that manages its affairs well and is often hailed as an example to other small Island states.
My confidence in our people is rooted in what I have been privileged to observe over the last six years as Premier. Women and men who have defied the odds in almost every field to manifest a true spirit of resilience and determination.
May this Christmas Season be filled with peace, love, joy, and hope. I wish for all a family-filled holiday, spending priceless times with family and friends while reflecting on the reason for the Season. Beyond the hustle and bustle of the sales and the glow of the Christmas lights, it will be the personal connections that truly matter.
On behalf of the Government of Bermuda and from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!