Today’s Editorial April 06: Help Cayman, plant a tree

A decades-old guinep tree has been at the centre of controversy this week.

The tree is in front of the West Wind Building down on the waterfront of George Town and efforts are under way to remove it.

But the tree doesn’t have a date with a chainsaw.

Instead, the tree – roots and all – will be removed and relocated to West Indian Club Nursery.

We hope it makes it and commend IHC, the owners of the property, for trying to save it.

It is a shame that the tree has to be moved from the place where Norberg Thompson, Benson Ebanks, Truman Bodden and Burkley Bush built the building and decided to let the tree live.

Years later there was a threat to have the tree cut down, but Mike Lockwood brought so much public attention to the tree’s potential plight that public outcry stopped those plans.

This week we have heard and read of people begging that the tree be allowed to remain. That isn’t going to happen.

But it will be saved, if possible.

And we are confident that the building owner will see to it that greenery is restored to the site of the building.

True, it looks like George Town is slowly becoming a concrete jungle with little hope of shade.

But just because we’ve lost our trees in George Town doesn’t mean that we don’t need to stop and take stock of our trees throughout the Cayman Islands and specifically Grand Cayman.

As stewards of the Earth we are charged with protecting our natural resources and replenishing them.

We lost many trees during Hurricane Ivan and even many of those that survived had to be cut down because of long-term damage.

But we can do something about it. We can all plant trees on our little patches of Earth.

We would suggest that residents go beyond just the simple measure of planting trees and make sure they plant trees that are indigenous to the Cayman Islands.

If you have any doubt about whether a tree or plant is indigenous, contact the National Trust.

Specifically in short supply are mahogany trees and ironwood. Both are of major historical significance to the Cayman Islands with mahogany used for furniture and boats and ironwood used as foundations for many old Caymanian homes.

IHC Properties didn’t have to take the extra measure of relocating the tree. There is no law that would keep the company from cutting down the tree on its own land.

At least they have the best interest of the country at heart in trying to save the tree.

West Indian Club Nursery has also demonstrated its concern about losing native trees and plants by planting them in parks throughout the country.

We should all strive toward the preservation and protection of our endemic trees.

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