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Happy holidays

It has become somewhat traditional at this time of year to state that now, more than ever, Bermuda needs to embrace the values that Jesus Christ introduced during his time on Earth, especially peace on earth and goodwill to all men.Perhaps this newspaper is being overly optimistic, but “now more than ever” may be overstating the case this year.The change in leadership of the Government seems to have brought a new air of tolerance and openness with it, which is very welcome.At the same time and it is to be hoped that saying this will not end up jinxing the trend the police and other agencies deserve enormous credit for the work they have done on crime.No one has been murdered since August. To be sure, there is an element of luck in this. People have been wounded and shot at, but the wounds have not been fatal. But it is a fact that Bermuda has been spared the tragedy of a shooting death.The police and the Department of Public Prosecutions have also had a successful run of convictions, thanks to witnesses coming forward and solid evidence being gathered.So a change in leadership in Government has brought with it a new mood of openness. People are listening and talking and in time, this should lead to progress on some of the issues confronting the Island.And the slowdown in violent crime also means that Bermuda residents will start to feel more secure.None of this means that anyone can afford to relax. Bermuda still faces massive challenges in terms of the economy, crime, the alienation of young people and a host other issues.But compared to 12 months ago, when the Island was reeling from the economic downturn, there seemed to be a murder every day and the community was deeply at odds with itself, there is a different feeling now.In the coming year, the more fortunate in this community must be their brother's keeper. Yesterday, this newspaper reported on two people struggling to survive in the economic downturn. The response has been heartening. There are thousands more like them.What is most worrying is that conditions are likely to get worse before they get better.But it is worth noting that this is still an economy which depends heavily on imported labour. There is work to be had. It may not be exactly the job someone wants, and it may not pay as well as someone wants or deserves, but if it pays something, that's better than nothing.We also need to renew our commitment to tolerance and respect. There will always be differences of opinion in a community that's healthy and to be expected. But listening is as important as talking in finding the answers to our challenges.And respecting others' points of view, regardless of who they are or their backgrounds, is critical. Surely it's what is said rather than who is saying it that matters?Many Bermudians are having to make do with less this year than in the past. It's worth remembering that as a country we are still vastly better off than the vast majority of other people around the world. But we should help those who are struggling this year and be grateful for what we do have.We wish all our readers a happy and safe Christmas.