Good afternoon, everyone.
And welcome to this national tree planting ceremony, held in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and Sunshine Holdings Limited.
Today, we pause to pay tribute to the Lignum Vitae: a proud, slow-growing specimen native to The Bahamas, and distinguished by its durable wood and medicinal bark.
It is our national tree, and for many years the hardwood has served our people in more ways than you can imagine.
The lignum vitae was used by generations of boatbuilders to craft magnificent sloops; it was harvested for the construction of homes; and it was even felled for export to northern neighbours like the United Kingdom and the United States.
Nowadays, the ‘tree of life’, as its name translates, is protected by the Department of Forestry as an important national symbol and cultural artifact. It is on display across The Bahamas, flaunting its purple flowers and red fruit on school grounds, on either side of the Sir Milo Butler statue in Rawson Square, and amid government buildings across the archipelago.
With this dedication ceremony, we officially welcome an 85-year-old Lignum Vitae tree to the Office of the Prime Minister.
This tree planting not only signals our administration’s commitment to celebrating all things Bahamian in the year of our golden jubilee but also highlights our strong ecological conscience.
To the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and Sunshine Holdings Limited, I extend my sincerest thanks for working with us to carry out this tree planting.
I look forward to admiring this majestic tree for years to come.