JIS News

The coconut beautification project being carried out on Pigeon Island has been hailed as an initiative that demonstrates that citizens do not have to always wait on government to make the first move. Director of Projects at the Coconut Industry Board, Basil Been, tells JIS News that the beautification project, which has been ongoing for some 15 years, is a reflection of an individual’s drive to make the first move.
“Ultimately it is up to individuals to take on initiatives without always waiting on the government and this project is one such move and a really good thing,” Mr. Been informs.
More than 200 coconut trees have been planted on the island nestled away some six miles South East of Salt River in Clarendon, giving it a truly scenic tropical setting.
He also expresses the hope that more Jamaicans will take up similar projects. “This kind of project is really necessary and I hope that a lot more people will take up similar projects and beautify this land of wood and water,” he says.
The project, which began in 1990 as a hobby by John Greaves, a Director at Tank Weld Metals Limited, to keep the island clean and pollutant free has grown from strength to strength with other trees such as mango, ackee and sea grapes now being planted on the island.
Mr. Greaves tells JIS News that given the success of the project there are plans to expand. “We are looking to expand, we have over 200 trees here now and we want to increase this number as well plant other fruits,” he explains.
The Director also discloses that an ackee tree project had been underway when last year’s Hurricane Ivan hit.
“This project was affected by Hurricane Ivan however we continue to mow the areas that we intend to plant the fruit as well as others,” he reveals.
The 15-year coconut beautification project has not been without its fair share of mishaps and Mr. Greaves tells JIS that one of the early problems was the “raiding” and stealing of coconuts from the trees. “In the early days we had to contend with the stealing of the nuts but we rectified that by supplying neighbouring communities with extra nuts to plant as well as fertilizers,” he informs.
He says there are no intentions to sell the coconuts or the other fruits and they remain on the island for beautification purposes as well as to supply visitors and fisher folk who frequent the island, with fresh fruit.
“It really continues to be a hobby for us to beautify the island and people should come and see what we have been doing,” he urges.
The Coconut Industry Board assists the project with supplies of fertilizers as well as coconuts plants.