Message from His Excellency the Acting Governor on Arbor Day delivered
by Acting Executive Private Secretary Arliene T. Penn
Friday, November 30, 2018
His Excellency the Governor August Jaspert is currently away from the Territory on duty travel to the Joint Ministerial Council Meeting in United Kingdom. He left the Territory yesterday.
His Excellency the Acting Governor Mr. David Archer Jr., wanted to be here this morning as well, but is unable to be with us because he is currently chairing a Cabinet Meeting that is taking place as I speak. Mr. Archer will visit the Garden sometime today, to see the exceptional displays.
So the task is mine.
On behalf of the Governor and Acting Governor, let me first say that it is a pleasure to be here this morning, participating in this Arbour Day Celebration, thanks to the committed efforts of the Board members and administrative team of the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands.
Thank you for making this moment happen!
It has indeed been a very rewarding experience to see all the recovery works that has been accomplished so far here at the J.R O’Neal Botanic Gardens.
This place looks amazing, considering the unprecedented weather events of last year.
I thank the composite clean-up crew that kept evolving over time, consisting of staff within Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour, the BVI Fishing Complex, Department of Agriculture, Survey Department and the Conservation & Fisheries Department.
Then added to this list of helpers during Public Service Week this year, were public officers from throughout the service who pulled together in camaraderie to further assist with the clearing and grooming of the grounds for the safety and enjoyment of visitors of all types.
This commitment to restoring this historical site is not only commendable, but is worthy of applause because it says that we all understand the important of nurturing and taking care of our green spaces.
The United Kingdom Government has been steadfast in its commitment in supporting the Virgin Islands by funding the extensive biodiversity conservation and plant research partnership work of the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew through reputable scientific grant vehicles like the Darwin Initiative and the DarwinPlus Initiative.
We are pleased that the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands continues to enjoy a long-standing—20 years plus—mutually beneficial public-private partnerships with the United Kingdom through the agencies of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Through new membership with the International National Trust Organization, we are pleased that the Trust is establishing valuable connections and relationships that will tap into expertise, resources, team training opportunities, SMART Park technologies, management best-practice innovations and much more.
The Government House overlooks the Queen Elizabeth II National Park, and I know that His Excellency’s the Governor August Jaspert uses the park regularly.
I must therefore say that the Governor recognises it as an echo of the J. R. O’Neal Botanic Garden, where the linkages between the J. R. O’Neal Botanic Garden and Queen Elizabeth II National Park are indeed ideal spots that can form of historic tours for visitors and residents alike.
As the two main green spaces in the Road Town area of Tortola, it was very evident after the traumatic experiences of the 2017 Hurricane Season, as a people we turned to the quickly-cleared Queen Elizabeth II National Park for much-needed, if brief breaks away from all the dust, damage and destruction of our islands.
The recovered and reopened J. R. O’Neal Botanic Garden adds another essential option of relief and rejuvenation for us as we continue our journey out of recovery into renewal and resiliency.
In closing allow me therefore, to remind all of us to continue to honour the roots of the BVI where we cultivate a culture of conservation and embrace a climate ready environment.
Do continue to honour the roots of the BVI by enhancing and protecting our green spaces. Where we plant trees and sow seeds and nurture them so that they grow from strength to strength for the future enjoyment for generations of residents and visitors, and our youth who are among us today.
Now is a fantastic and opportune time for us to keep the momentum going—when we are rebuilding BVI stronger, smarter, greener and better.