- Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency, Dong Xiaojun, broke ground for a Chinese garden at the Hope Botanical Gardens.
- The garden, which will be sited on 11 acres at the Lilly Pond, is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
- This project marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and China.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency, Dong Xiaojun, broke ground for a Chinese garden at the Hope Botanical Gardens in Kingston, on February 20.
The garden, which will be sited on 11 acres at the Lilly Pond, is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, and is being developed at a cost of $240 million, the major portion of which is being provided by the Chinese government.
This project marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and China.
The Prime Minister welcomed the project, stating that construction of the facility underscores the Government’s commitment to sustainable development, and an appreciation for the value of green spaces in cities and urban areas.
“This Chinese garden also fits into the larger context and plan of restoring Hope Gardens to its former glory. History tells us that by their very nature, Chinese gardens are designed to express the harmony that should exist between man and nature. As a government, we remain committed to achieving that harmonious balance between the demands and impact of human development, and the care and preservation of our environment,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She pointed out that there is a growing interest by Jamaicans in Chinese culture, art and training, adding that in building the garden, the government is investing in the environment and the future and quality of life for all Jamaicans.
Meanwhile, the Ambassador said the garden represents another milestone and “sweet fruit” in friendly relations between Jamaica and his country.
He noted that over the years, the Chinese government has supported and assisted Jamaica in achieving its social and economic development, by undertaking a number of projects, such as: the Majesty Gardens Basic School; Sligoville Sports Complex; and the Sligoville Water Supply and road renovation projects.
“Our assistance to Jamaica may be not so big, but it’s very genuine,” he said.
Ambassador Xiaojun highlighted that bilateral trade between Jamaica and China continues to increase, with Jamaica now China’s fourth top trading partner in the Caribbean.
Providing an overview of the project, Chairman of the Nature Preservation Foundation, Leslie Chang, informed that the addition of the garden compliments future development of the property, in keeping with a master plan to expand exhibits and improve infrastructure.
He explained that the garden will be a combination of an inner royal garden, and an outer private garden. The inner garden will feature stones, moving water, pavilions, terraces, and a low surrounding wall. In this area, concerts, plays, weddings and festivals, and other appropriate events will be staged. The outer garden will feature nature and open spaces.
Preliminary works have already been done for the garden, which will be constructed over 14 months, under the management of experts from China, along with input from a team of local artisans.
The architectural designs were prepared by China Architectural Group, in collaboration with the management of Hope Gardens, and the construction contract awarded to China Zhenjiang International Economic-Technical Cooperation Corporation (CZICC), which is carrying out the construction of Chinese gardens and other major civil works across Europe.
The project is being implemented by the Nature Preservation Foundation, which has a 49-year lease to manage the Hope Botanical Gardens.