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"Genuine hope" that 2021 will be a better year

Friday 25 December 2020

"Genuine hope" that 2021 will be a better year

The Bailiwick community have got the islands into the position where we can enjoy Christmas without any domestic restrictions - now the Bailiff says we must make sure to look out for people we know who may be suffering from sadness and loneliness during a festive period like no other.

"As we approach Christmas this year, we have much for which to be thankful. Perhaps the greatest gift at this festive season is being able to gather together within the Bailiwick to celebrate without facing the level of restrictions being experienced in many other places, including our nearest neighbours. That sense of joy and personal safety is one that we really should all cherish.

I do realise that for some the inability to be away from the Bailiwick seeing family and friends elsewhere will be a blow. Similarly, those who had planned to be entertaining visitors here now impacted by the self-isolation requirements may well not be as enthusiastic about this Christmas as others who are less affected.  To the extent that there is sadness or loneliness, it is important for the rest of us to do our best to ensure that we look out for those who are feeling that way.

An incredible community spirit was evident through lockdown and has drawn so many comments since. It reflects the Christmas message of caring for each other, being generous and thoughtful. The selfless behaviour of so many and the strong sense of collective will to respect the restrictions by complying with what has been expected of everyone in the Bailiwick throughout this pandemic have been key features of the Bailiwick’s response.

The example of those who lead our response has importantly been followed almost completely, so I am truly thankful to everyone who has contributed to what has been a positive outcome to date – and long may that continue.

Richard McMahon Judges Jurats Court Wreath

Pictured: Mr McMahon's first act as Bailiff back in May was to lay a memorial wreath at the foot of the War Memorial.

The recent start to the vaccination programme is a further reason to be optimistic about the months ahead. It reinforces the genuine hope on which our enjoyment of this Christmas can be founded that 2021 will be a better year.

The past year has, of course, had its highlights. Although it was a different type of Liberation Day, it was still special to be able to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Occupation. Even in lockdown, technology assisted to bring people together. Those advances in communications contrast markedly with the circumstances of those who were evacuated 80 years ago. Families and friends facing Christmas in 1940 suffered the uncertainty of not knowing what those from whom they were separated were facing.

Our experiences this year perhaps enable us to appreciate more than ever the significance of the freedoms we generally enjoy and for which those who gave their lives during that war fought.

Once we emerged from lockdown, our domestic life returned to the “new normal” and I have very much enjoyed the occasions on which I get to attend events and meet the wonderful people who do so much to make our Bailiwick such a lovely place to live. Thank you for being so welcoming.

On my first Christmas as Bailiff of Guernsey, it is a great pleasure and privilege to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

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