Seasonal greetings from Tristan's Chief Islander, James Glass, after what has been a challenging year around the whole world.

Chief Islander's Message for Christmas 2020

To everyone who visits, here's wishing you and your family a Happy and Blessed Christmas and New Year, and thank you for all your support, especially the Tristan Association members.

Tristan da Cunha Chief Islander, James GlassThis year has been like no other and my heart goes out to all of you out there who will be restricted from celebrating Christmas as normal. Watching the BBC News and seeing all the people stranded away from home (especially the drivers of the lorries at Dover and elsewhere) brings home how lucky we are to be on Tristan da Cunha at this time, where we have continued to live as normal, and will be celebrating Christmas with family and friends.

This past year has been tough and difficult decisions were made: we had to cancel all visits from tourist vessels, we had restrictions on people visiting the island, and islanders were stranded in the UK and Cape Town. The island ran short on supplies: we were without fresh fruit for five months and some other items of food ran out. The lobster concession holder lost the vessel Geo Searcher at Gough Island when it hit a rock and sank, but thankfully all 62 on board were saved including the two Tristanian Observers. We announced our Marine Protection Zone (MPZ), the biggest in the South Atlantic, and have a number of projects that will bring benefits to the island over the next few years.

We had a vessel hoping to depart Cape Town on the 12th December 2020 which would have brought family home for Christmas, goods and food for the festive season and presents for the children. This vessel is now only likely to arrive sometime in the New Year. However, if anything, it has taught us how little we really need, and seeing the situation in UK we can be thankful:

  • That everyone is employed, who wishes to work, or if not, at least has a source of income;
  • Everyone owns their own house, no one pays rent and no one is homeless;
  • There is no shortage of food;
  • And, crucially, we have managed to avoid the pandemic virus to date while still getting the supplies we need.

Our revenue will be reduced this year, but we don't owe anyone anything. We are isolated and sometimes complain about what we can't get or do, but the advantages of living on Tristan far outweigh the disadvantages especially at the present time.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

James Glass
Chief Islander