At a meeting on Friday November 25 in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in the Pine, Minister John Boyce advised a group of interested citizens and MTW staff, that indeed, after much consultation and research on other options, the Silk Cotton Tree in Warrens – opposite the Baobab tree – will need to be removed.
Minister Boyce was speaking to a group which included David Spieler representing the Flower Forest and Earthworks pottery, Mr Reginald Medford – Medford’s Mahogany, Mr Dave Scantlebury – MTW, Mr Nigel Jones – Natural Heritage Department (NHD), Mr Abdul Pandoor – Consulting Engineer to the Warrens Project, Dr John Webster – Landscape Designer, Mr Kammie Holder – PRO for the Future Centre Trust, Permanent Secretary Mr Lionel Nurse, Mr Steve Devonish – Natural Heritage Department, Mr Mark Brathwaite – Consulting Landscape Architect to NHD and myself. This was in fact the second meeting called in recent weeks, with Dr Karl Watson and Ms Mia Mottley attending the previous meeting to offer their views.
It would appear that the main reason for the take down of the tree is related to cost. The landowner, after consultation with the Ministry, requested a sum of millions, which would in fact mean the acquisition of the entire land space surrounding the tree.
The discussion of the tree was brought to the attention of the FCT earlier this year with a large push on social media sites including Facebook, by Mr Kammie Holder. Mr Holder has pursued the matter since this time and has been a keen advocate for the tree.
During the meeting, the Minister highlighted the plans for the entire Warrens area and explained that the aim of the MTW was in fact “not to build as many roundabouts in Barbados, but to enable the traffic to move through Warrens in a speedy way.” Mr Steve Devonish of the NHD then explained the plan for green spaces and tree planting within the area, with specifics of species in each area indicated by Mr Brathwaite.
One main theme that arose from the discussion was the amount of privately owned land in Warrens which could prevent the area being transformed into a much greener thoroughfare in the future. Those from the private sector were encouraged to seek out land owners and lobby them to consider including trees in their various site plans.
So for now, the Silk Cotton Tree will be removed in short time. There are plans, depending on the condition of the tree, to use the trunk as a memorial to centenarians in the area and to re-use as much of the tree as possible. The support over the past ten or so months has not gone unnoticed by the Ministry with Minister Boyce explaining the plan to embrace the BAC Project – ‘Beyond Asphalt and Concrete’- as a way forward for any future road developments. They will be seeking means and ways to include as much green planning in the initial stages as possible to ensure reference to the physical environment and planting back of greenery.
Thank you Minister Boyce for taking the time to listen to the concerns of the people and we look forward to hearing more from the Ministry as it plans to plant more trees in the area including 3 silk cottons to assist in carbon offsets in the future for the tree that needs to be removed.