The leader of the Diocese of Roseau, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire
The leader of the Diocese of Roseau, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire

It is worth noting that within the last five years, our country's independence celebrations have been experi-enced in the midst of three major crises, namely, Tropi-cal Storm Erika in 2015, Hurricane Maria in 2017 and now Covid-19 in 2020. Each with progressively intensive repercussions, have brought our usual festivities to a screeching halt. The latter, although being of pandemic proportions, has been relatively gentle to Dominica, or more precisely, the professional and scientific approach of the Ministry of Health and the largely positive re-sponses of the citizenry to the crisis, have made Domini-ca one of the countries with the best response to the pandemic.

This is no doubt a great posture with which to enter the country's 42nd Independence Anniversary celebrations. It tells of the discipline of both Government and people in the face of crises. One would not be wrong in assuming that Erika and Maria prepared us for Covid. Therefore, sincere praise and commendation are due to the Gov-ernment and the various arms of the Ministry of Health: the doctors and nurses, personnel at the quarantine fa-cility, including the law enforcement agents, and all oth-er front-line workers, who are eternally vigilant in pre-venting the spread of the terrible virus among us. We are truly grateful for your dedicated service to us.

However, despite the relative success of our approach to the pandemic, we must keep in mind that we are part of a global reality, and that what happens to our associ-ates, friends and neighbours in the international world can adversely affect us. In that regard, therefore, it is imperative that, as a people, we remain constantly vigi-lant, observing all the necessary protocols and sanitiza-tion methods to keep ourselves and others safe.

In the face of the danger of Covid fatigue creeping into our national psyche, it seems necessary, even temporari-ly, for every citizen to raise the observance of the Covid-19 safety protocols to that of virtue. By this I mean that, at this point in our history, when hundreds of thousands are contracting the virus and thousands are dying on a daily basis around the globe, what better means would there be for a small island state such as ours to ensure that every single citizen is protected from the ravages of this invisible and insidious creature? It requires discipline in virtuous proportions.

As a Christian community, we often bring our concerns without exception to God who journeys with us, listens to our cry for help and responds in good time and in ways that are best for us. Therefore, we pray that God, in his own time will relieve us and our entire world of the scourge of this pandemic. Let us be open to the opportu-nities this unusual experience affords us. In the mean-time, let us remain united with a common purpose to do all we can to keep each other safe.

In this period, while we focus on the value of our nation-hood and strive at 'Embracing New Opportunities' as this year's theme suggests, we ask God's special blessings upon our leaders, civil and religious, our civil servants and professionals, and most especially our health person-nel, the private sector, our law enforcement agents, those directly affected by the virus, farmers and fisher-folks, all who contribute to the wellbeing, safety and peace of our beloved Nature Isle.

May we be eternally grateful for the precious gift of our island home and treasure it wholeheartedly.

Happy Birthday Dominica!