Minister of Environment of Barbados called to intervene to save a 300 year Sandbox Tree

The following was circulated on Facebook & via e-mail today;-

We the people of Barbados request the intervention of Mr Denis Kellman as Minister of Environment to intervene to save a 300 year Sandbox Tree with a 25 feet girth. Mr Kellman,we the 109,000 Barbadians on Facebook beg you to preserve this relic of our history, which met the first settlers and witnessed slavery in Barbados. If you feel strongly about the bulldozing of these two trees which are also a tourist attraction, send this message to Mr Kellman.

We are asking all of you assemble at the location for 15 minutes on Friday March 25th at 10:30 am. Dr Karl Watson will address you on the history of preservation of our heritage and this tree.”

Image Courtesy Kammie Holder/Agyeman Kofi who states on Facebook;- "The Sandbox Tree TO BE BULLDOZED is on the left which has kept company to the Boab tree for years. The Sandbox tree being saved is the young one opposite One Accord Plaza Gap where persons wait for the bus."

There has been a response whih came from a John Webster, who does not mind being quoted;-

“…With all due respect I cannot support this specific request. On Monday I visited the site to be clear on exactly what is going on and to identify the various species on the site.

My findings are as follows: there are 3 major (old) trees of significance in the area of the roadworks; a 300 year old Baobab, a large old (very sick) Silk Cotton on the opposite side of the road to the Baobab, and a large beautiful old sandbox tree.

I have been assured that the very historically important 300 year old Baobab will be preserved. For the record, if this tree was going to be destroyed I would have chained myself to it and the police would have had to cut me off it screaming and kicking!!

The sandbox tree, of which there are many other specimens across the island, will be preserved and have pride of place in the centre of the new roundabout.

Actually it appears to me that Government is spending a considerable sum of money to orient the roundabout to accommodate this tree. Kudos to them for so doing.

Unfortunately the old silk cotton is destined to be removed. This is unfortunate as these three species are each considered “sacred trees” in various religions and cultures. However we must be realistic about this issue as this Silk Cotton specimen, although old and large is really in very poor condition and probably at the end of its life. It currently stands right in the middle of the planned road widening project. There are many other Silk Cotton trees across the island with two very fine specimens at Codrington College and others St Phillip’s and St John’s Parish churches to name three locations. Hence it is not like the Baobab of which there are only two specimens on the island of historical significance. Incidentally there is a “young” Baobab growing in the fenceline of the old BIM drinks plant just down from Pricesmart – probably planted by a bird.

Therefore in the interest of progress and in the ongoing effort by Government to improve our traffic flows, I am willing to sacrifice one old, very sick Silk Cotton tree for the good of all.

Perhaps Government may be willing to plant a replacement Silk Cotton on a designated plot nearby to recreate the grouping of the three sacred trees which I believe to be a unique occurence in Barbados.

Let us therefore change our petition to one insisting that a replacement be planted nearby. Identify the location and I will personally locate a tree and take great pride in planting it for our future generations!

Mr Webster stated the reply could be listed on Facebook and he says Barbadians have a great responsibility;-

I feel very strongly about this issue of trees and their indescriminate removal, particularly rare and or historic ones, but sometimes you just have to weigh the facts and let go. In this particular Warrens road improvement issue I think Government has shown good judgement and we need to work with them when we can, not just oppose them indescriminately! Let us press them to allocate a plot of land nearby, a breathing space in their ongoing development in the area, and I will personally do the rest at my expense and/or with the help of other interested or supportive individuals or companies.”

It must be noted that in the laws of Barbados, it is actually up to the Prime Minister to alert Town & Country as to whether or not a building or tree is to be taken down; Minister Kellman has gone on FB several times today and repeated in many conversation threads, stating he gave no orders for any trees to be removed.

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  1. What happened then? Government has to be kept on its toes, not everything for a dollar – remember Chefette in Holetown with the Mahogany trees? Keep up the nice work.


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