JAM | May 18, 2023

Labour Day 2023 set to reignite National Tree Initiative

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Day will also be used to highlight the importance of Road Safety

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), participates in a tree-planting exercise on the lawns of Jamaica House on Tuesday (May 2), alongside Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (right) and Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda. The occasion was the launch of Labour Day and Workers’ Week 2023 at the Office of the Prime Minister. This year’s commemoration will feature a national tree-planting initiative. (Photo Credit: Jamaica Iformation Service)

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Jamaica’s National Tree Planting Initiative is set to be reignited this Labour Day having been slowed down by the Covid-19 pandemic

This was disclosed by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, who outlined details of Labour Day 2023 and Worker’s Week 2023 in a statement to the House of Representatives yesterday. National Labour Day will be observed next Tuesday, May 23, 2023, culminating Workers’ Week, which started on Sunday, May 14. 

The theme and focus of Labour Day and Workers’ Week 2023 are: “Plant a tree for life – Promoting Climate Change Mitigation, Food Security and Road Safety.” The invaluable contribution of the workers of Jamaica will be recognised during Workers’ Week. 

Focus for Labour Day 2023 

Yellow Poui

She told the parliament that the focus for Labour Day 2023 was borne out of the Forestry Department’s National Tree Initiative to plant three million trees in three years. The initiative was launched on October 4, 2019 by Prime Minister, Andrew Holness to support national development in the areas of climate change and national reforestation to increase forest cover and establish high-value urban green spaces for all Jamaicans. 

According to Minister Grange, “the drive towards the three million-tree target, slowed down by the Covid-19 pandemic, is currently at two point five million. The plan is to use Labour Day 2023 to re-ignite the nation to strive for the three-million goal by the summer of 2023 through the Parish Tree Initiative, which will bolster the target with the planting of trees which are popular, some endemic in respective parishes.”

 These trees and the respective parishes are as follows:

  • St. Thomas – Artocarpus altilis – Breadfruit 
  • Portland – Hernandia catalpifolia – Water Mahoe 
  • St. Mary – Annatto 
  • St. Ann – Calophyllum calaba Santa Maria.
  • Trelawny – Antirhea jamaicensis – Gold Spoon
  • St. James – Ceiba pentandra – Cotton Tree 
  • Hanover – Ormosia jamaicensis – Red Nickel 
  • Westmoreland – Roystonia princeps – Royal Palm
  • St. Elizabeth – Haematoxlylum campechianum – Logwood 
  • Manchester – Ocotea staminea – Spice wood 
  • Kingston – Tabebuia serratifolia – Yellow Poui 
  • St Andrew – Swietenia mahogonii – West Indian Mahogany 
  • Clarendon – Peltophorum linnaei (Now Coulteria linnei) – Brazilleto 
  • St. Catherine – Lignum Vitae 
  • Portmore (treated as a separate Parish) – Cordia Sebestena L. – Scarlet cordia 

Start or refresh backyard gardens 

Scarlett Cordia (Photo Credfti: Indoor Plants)

Within the focus to plant trees this Labour Day, Jamaicans are being encouraged to start or refresh their backyard gardens and have their projects registered with the National Labour Day Secretariat. Schools are also being encouraged to either spruce up or start school gardens. 

The Labour Day Secretariat will also collaborate with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and other Agencies in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to see how best to assist participants with seedlings to get these gardens up and running. 

Minister Grange also told the House that “Labour Day will also be used to highlight the importance of Road Safety, another important element of sustainable development. The high levels of road fatalities continue to be of major concern and can only be lowered with the concerted effort of all Jamaicans, as most of the fatalities are avoidable.” 

National Labour Day Project

Highway 2000 East-West. (Photo: Vinci Concessions)

The Labour Day National Project will be a national tree-planting exercise along Highway 2000, near Hartlands Road. The target for the National Project is ten-thousand trees. 

Groups from corporate Jamaica, as well as other civil society groups, and schools, among others will participate in the tree-planting exercise. Entry to the work site will be via Hartlands Road, from Old Harbour Road with no access from the Highway. 

The National Project will again be led by the Prime Minister Holness, Leader of the Opposition and Portfolio Ministers of the leading Ministries. The project is being arranged in plots of approximately half hectare in size. 

Corporate entities with large groups (50 or more) will be assigned a plot and will be able to brand their plot for the day and will be able to provide hospitality for their volunteers planting trees in their plot. The Forestry Department as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will make thousands of trees available to organisations and the general public across Jamaica. 

This will include the popular trees grown in each parish. As it has been the custom, the Labour Day activities will end with a national concert. This year, it will be a Praise and Worship Gospel Concert at Emancipation Park from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 

Artistes include Minister Kevin Downswell, Richie Stephens, Petra Kaye, Jai Kingston, Minister Howdy, Minister Treasure, Prince Saj, Oshane Mais, Latoya Hamilton, Kerron Clarke, Kukudo. 

Activities planned for the week

Karl Samuda, minister of labour and social security. (Photo: Ministry of Labour and Social Security)

Last Monday, May 15, there was the mounting of Workers’ Week display at the Ministry of Labour on North Street, Kingston while the following day saw a Floral Tribute in honour of Aggie Bernard, held at the Workers Monument, Kingston Craft Market. The ceremony was led by the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Labour and Social Security and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Mrs Colette Roberts-Risden and Mr Denzil Thorpe, respectively.

This morning, there was a Floral Tribute to former Prime Minister, the late Hugh Lawson Shearer at National Heroes Park. There was also be a Cultural Day at Workers’ Park at Frome in Westmoreland, starting at 10: 00 a.m.

Tomorrow, the Labour Relations Awards Banquet will take place at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. The Workers’ Week Church Service will be held on Sunday, May 21, at the Church of the Open Bible, Washington Boulevard, St Andrew, starting at 10:00 a.m. 

Labour Day activities will commence with the laying of floral tributes in a small civic ceremony at the shrine of Rt. Excellent Sam Sharpe (Heroes Park) and at his statue in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay.


What To Read Next