The year has ticked over from 2015 to 2016 and for many in our country and Abaco it is a moment of mixed emotions. Mixed with the year’s triumphs are our tragedies. Mixed with the new year’s hopes is worry. Mixed with victories are failures. But the new year offers opportunities to grow, to learn and to make a difference.
There is a lot to be thankful for. There is a lot to fight for. And there is a lot to strive for.
We can be thankful for many things. Abaco was spared the devastation of a hurricane this year. If you need a reminder how great a blessing this is look no further than a few miles south at our affected neighbours in Long Island, Crooked Island and the rest of the Southern Bahamas. We can be thankful for our island’s economy. Recently released numbers show employment is up and Abaco has always been a special case within the country.
We can be thankful for family and friends. Remember those who have lost this year and especially those who have lost in the holiday season. If you have any connections at all on Abaco you know the individual tragedies that have shaken our communities and us personally. Hold those you love close, they are our greatest strength.
We can be thankful for new opportunities, such as Delta connecting us to a new world of travel. And we can also be thankful for our traditions, community and stability. This dichotomy is present in our elected representatives: Edison Key who is a long-serving public servant for Abaco and Renardo Curry who represents a younger voice and the country’s future.
But there is a lot to fight for. And this starts with Mr. Key and Mr. Curry. We must fight to remind those we elect who they represent. We must fight a system that refuses to be transparent on nearly every level. We must fight for the clinic: the new one which, perplexingly, remains unopened and for the old one which makes our own nurses ill – let alone be in a position to heal. We must fight for our tax dollars to be spent in an accountable way. No one I know is convinced Abaco gets what she deserves for all we dump into the treasury. And speaking of taxes, does anyone know where VAT is disappearing to?
We must fight against projects that are not in our community’s best interest. We must fight against nepotism and victimization and political arrogance which all seem to be the current order of the day. But it’s a new year. And a new battleground.
Not ever battle is with an outside adversary. Some battles we fight against ourselves as we set goals, aim and strive for better tomorrows. We must strive to appreciate and protect – both our island’s natural beauty and the youth we are fostering for the future.
We must strive to do better personally and as an island community. Striving to help our elderly, our youth, our hungry, our outcast and our widowed. There is so much hurt. But we are a nation of loving people and we must turn that love to our own streets if we strive to make a difference.
Abaco must strive to set examples for our countrymen and our children – no better example than the overwhelming outpouring of support this small island poured into our hurricane ravaged brothers and sisters this year. That was a moment to be proud of. That was a moment to take to heart and replicate in every situation big or small.
2016 has all of these. A lot to be thankful for. A lot to fight for. And a lot to strive for.