STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE VINCENT O. WHEATLEY
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES, LABOUR & IMMIGRATION
Friday, 27 November, 2020
Ladies and gentlemen, the Territory will observe Arbour Day on November 27.
Arbour day is typically a day of rebirth and rejuvenation, as we plant seedlings along our schools, homes, and businesses.
We recognise the importance of trees to our biodiversity, our health and well-being.
Replanting indigenous and other types of trees is a longstanding practice rooted in the days when the late Joseph R. O’Neal, the first Chairman of the National Parks Trust would travel to various schools promoting the practice.
Arbour Day has since grown to include community partners being engaged, along with students, in beautification exercises.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria inflicted a lot of damage to our landscapes. It has slowly and steadfastly been recovering on a natural basis. We must do our part to replant trees to accelerate this recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the practice of congregating around our schools to witness the replanting exercises. It, however, cannot and has not dampened our resolve to continue our efforts. By necessity, our replanting ceremony will be smaller in nature – and we will see targeted plantings being undertaken by various individuals and groups. We have also seen how our community has come together to rehabilitate areas where mangroves were traditionally found.
Leading up to this event, we have replanted hundreds of mangroves along the shores of Sea Cow’s Bay, Frenchman’s Cay and Virgin Gorda. We will continue with these efforts to replant trees on land and at coastal locations.
The National Parks Trust plays an integral part in the protection and preservation of our native flora. The celebration of Arbour Day provides us with the opportunity to focus our attention on the vital role that trees play in our lives.
I urge you to continue to support replanting efforts and to protect those that are alive and thriving throughout our beautiful islands.