Editorial: Cayman’s losing an asset in Guthrie

 The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park on Grand Cayman is losing a rare specimen at the end of this month.
   Andrew Guthrie is leaving the Cayman Islands after 15 years of overseeing the pristine and vast, colourful park.
   Throughout his tenure the park has grown with gardens added, facilities improved and with a budget that always has to be juggled.
   He still credits a dedicated staff, volunteers and members for helping to keep the park sustainable.
   He will be leaving us to take up a position at the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden at Wisley outside London.
   They are getting an award winner, in more ways than one.
   And we’re certainly losing one.
   The Observer on Sunday does not relish the job now facing the Tourism Attraction Board, which will have to try to find someone to replace Guthrie. His will be a hard act to follow for anyone.
   Anyone who knows Andrew Guthrie can attest that the post of general manager at the Botanic Park wasn’t just a job for him; it was his passion.
   Taking a walk through the park with Guthrie makes the experience even richer because you can hear the compassion in his voice as he talks about the Pisonia Margaretia trees that he, staff and volunteers rescued from a development in Spotts and rooted them so they would never become extinct.
   Of the palm garden, which he had planned for years and will now leave behind just as it’s getting started.
   Anyone who knows Guthrie could see the pain on his face and the hurt in his soul after Hurricane Ivan dished out its worst in September 2004. Under Guthrie’s leadership the broken and bended plants were triaged and the park is now even better than before.
   We could go on and on about improvements to the park under Guthrie’s watch – handicap accessibility, a top-notch visitor’s centre, the orchid boardwalk and more.
   We hope Guthrie’s replacement has his charm, charisma and moxie.
   The park is ever-dependent on volunteers and members to keep it running, both through works and money.
   Guthrie is blessed with knowing how to keep volunteers and donors motivated and interested.
   Under his guidance the park has been the perfect place for visitors and locals and is an excellent source to buy native and Cayman friendly plants.
   Thank you for your time with us Andrew. You will be missed.