Prime Minister Highlights Prospects for Restored Bath Botanical Gardens


Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller has said that St. Thomas could expect more economic activities, as the Bath Botanical Gardens are being restored.
Addressing participants at the National Labour Day Project in St. Thomas yesterday (May 23), the Prime Minister said not only would the gardens be a major attraction for visitors to the island, but would also benefit the local community.
“This will mean that we will have to look as well at the Bath Fountain so that our visitors, while they come to visit the second oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere, they can also stop at Bath Fountain and enjoy the mineral bath that you have here,” she said.
Commenting on the significance of this year’s theme: ‘Honouring our Ancestors.Strengthening our Communities’, the Prime Minister reminded that this was in keeping with the celebration of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Trade in Africans.
“As we honour the memory of our ancestors today, we must be reminded of their struggles in order for us to be free. and we are not to forget the courage and struggles of the St. Thomas man [our national hero] Paul Bogle,” she stressed.
Lauding the effort of the volunteers and community members, Mrs. Simpson Miller said: “What I have seen here today is a strong community spirit of individuals working together, of families working together and of communities working together and this is what we want.”
“If we can strengthen this bond of families and of communities working together, living in peace and love, then nobody will be able to stop the forward movement of this country and this parish,” she added.The Prime Minister also issued a challenge to the gathering to ensure that the country has a peaceful election when the time comes.
“The security of the Jamaican people is more important than any election victory. Anyone that seeks to come and promote violence is to be rejected by every Jamaican in every corner of this country,” she asserted.
“As we come to honour the memory of our ancestors today, we should never perpetuate what the slave masters did to them by doing it to each other. We would be washing away, throwing away and erasing what we are doing across Jamaica today in their memory as we honour them,” the Prime Minister said.
The activities involving the National Project in Bath included the cleaning-up and beautification of the gardens and surrounding areas; the creation of storyboards to highlight the significance of the plants and a healing garden with legal medicinal herbs and plants.
In addition, there were replanting of trees and plants that were originally in the gardens, repairing of the perimeter fence, and construction of walkways throughout the gardens.
Repairs were also done to the bathroom facilities, benches and gazebo, along with the painting of kerbed walls.
The Bath Botanical Gardens were established by the Government in 1779. Many of the exotic plants introduced to Jamaica were first planted there, including the jacaranda, bougainvillea, mango, cinnamon, breadfruit, jackfruit, and croton.
Over the years, plants have been taken from the gardens and transported to Kew Gardens in London as well as the British Museum of Natural History, which was founded with a collection of Jamaican plants.

JIS Social