Insist on local plants

I am writing in regard to the article about me on the 17 December CayCompass.com. website.

A local nursery is quoted in the article saying that I had a problem with marketing and pricing, but I have never discussed any prices with them, nor have they been to my nursery to see my stock.

If Cayman’s retail nurseries were more willing to buy locally raised plants, maybe we wouldn’t have the problems we do with Pink Mealy Bug and other pests. We would also save the costs to government (which costs us all) of monitoring and processing so many imported plants. Who knows what other new pests are being brought in even now?

Government needs to raise the price of bringing in plants from overseas. Currently it only costs $5 to bring in thousands of plants. The issuing of the permit and collecting the duties costs us more than this, not to mention the costs of the PMB eradication program and all the monitoring and spraying needed to support the private businesses who want to bring in foreign plants to for retail sale.

At the rate that we are clearing land here, there will soon be no native plants left. The Caymanian plants will be as endangered as Caymanians are.

The Agricultural Department came and took an inventory of my plants.

I have a large stock of locally grown landscaping trees and shrubbery. Why do they still allow the importation of plants like Sea grape, Coconuts, Cocoplum, Christmas palms, Crotans and more that are easily available right here?

They even still allow the import of the invasive Scavola that is taking over the beaches and is a real nuisance and a threat to native plants like Jennifer and Lavender.

Soon there will be no space for Sea Turtles to lay their eggs because the beaches will all be covered with this garish green pest.

The hardest thing to be these days is a Caymanian in Cayman.

Gary Chisholm