Community Group responds to Minister’s tree planting call

Georgetown, Guyana. – September 15, 2017

Community leaders in the West Demerara area have heeded a call by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan to develop and execute a tree planting programme as part of the goal to improve the aesthetics of their constituencies and create a more pleasing atmosphere.

Led by Malgre-Tout/Meer-Zorgen and Best/Klien Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC) representatives Peter Livingstone, Ryan Thomas and Trenton Fields, residents of Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara on Friday engaged in their first tree-planting exercise.

Constituency represents, Pastor Ryan Thomas and NDC Councillor, Peter Livingstone planting one of the trees along First Avenue, Parfaite Harmonie.

Livingstone noted that this would be the first in a series of tree planting activities that would see the community streets lined with fruit-bearing trees.

According to Livingstone, he was inspired to organize the event after attending a tree-planting initiative with Minister Bulkan.

He pointed out that as a child he would have been nurtured by fruit trees that were planted by his elders and he thought it was a “good thing for us to do”.

Livingstone said he was pleased to be associated with the activity and showered praises on the residents for their support and encouragement.

An overseas-based Guyanese, who said he was considering returning home, disclosed that he was heartened and encouraged by the simple yet poignant way in which the event fostered a spirit of networking among residents regardless of ethnicity.

“I’m feel even more determined to return home now, he said, adding that, “it is reassuring to see everyone working together. The fact that they have chosen to plant fruit trees and not flowers because this would ensure that children in this community would not go hungry and that in itself makes me happy inside.”

Special Projects Officer of the Ministry of Communities, Karen Roopchand told the gathering that the Ministry’s tree planting thrust is in keeping with government’s priority of transforming Guyana into a green state.

Special Projects Officer, Karen Roopchand and a resident planting a tree at Parfaite Harmonie.

She explained that this will be achieved by promoting the economic and social wellbeing in a way that preserves the environment for future generations.

As such, the Ministry of Communities has developed initiatives in tandem with the green agenda including its green energy, green spaces, green boulevards, green generation Guyana (#3G) and the ten thousand trees project (3TP)

Roopchand mentioned that the project is also geared towards promoting local economic development, empowering local democratic organs and improving community relations and aesthetics.

She advised that each constituency should develop a “tree plan” which can generate economic activities from the establishment of plant nurseries etc.

The Projects Officer pointed out that the tree planting will not only beautify the community, but it can provide food, promote greater community participation, remove carbon deposits and reduce the harmful effects of global warming.

“I commend and applaud the council for organizing this event and for bringing the tree planting initiative to the community. You have taken a bold step and must continue on the journey,” Roopchand lauded.

She implored the residents to aim towards 100 percent survival of the plants avoiding the many hazards of pests, parasite and animals.

Youth and Community Empowerment Officer within the Ministry of the Presidency, Pandit Suraj Narine said that he was heartened that the community was embracing the initiative of tree planting, stating that government is delighted to support any such venture towards the achievement of a green state.

Pandit Suraj Narine being assisted by a resident in planting a tree at Parfaite Harmonie.

Pandit Narine, who also serves as a Councillor on the Best/Klien Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) drawing on his religious teaching stated that man must ever be conscious of efforts at self- preservation.

This, he said, can start with the simple yet sustainable and powerful activity of tree planting.

“It can be said that half of our lungs are found outside the body since we breathe the oxygen produced by the trees. Hence we can trace the connection of any living beings. We must respect the achievement of our ancestors and stop cutting down fruit trees to accommodate huge houses and other buildings,” the Pandit lamented.

He stressed that Guyana can reduce its food import bill by as much as 80 percent if young people would reclaim and replant the land for food adding that most farmers are now well over the age of 70.

“The technology is available to make farming much easier today than it was back then. We have a civil responsibility to take care of ourselves, our families, our communities and our country and we can begin doing this with just this simple gesture,” Pandit Narine stressed.

He urged the community to eat healthy, organic foods and reduce their reliance on the genetically-modified and chemically-enhanced substances.

Minister Bulkan, in a recent letter, urged constituency councilors, as part of a proud and lasting legacy, to consider planting as many trees as possible.

He noted that government is committed to sustainable livelihood, preservation and conservation of the environment and biodiversity as part of a strategic vision to create and maintain a green state.

Minister Bulkan said that future generation can only inherit and inhabit a healthy planet, if the current trustees act responsibly and improve their surroundings.

“Trees do not only beautify…but they provide food for human and other animals, they provide homes for the many species of birds, and perhaps most importantly, they manufacture the air that we breathe. The importance of trees, therefore, cannot be overemphasised,” the Communities Minister stressed.

Government has declared the first Saturday in October as National Tree Day. The Ministry is currently engaged in planning for this event.

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