Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL) has commissioned a community garden in Bull Bay, St. Thomas as part of the company’s continued efforts to promote environmental sustainability.
Managing Director of CCCL, Yago Castro, explained that the creation of the garden embodies the company’s commitment to biodiversity conservation and is a partnership between the cement company and the communities served.
“The Bull Bay Community Garden is not just a garden; it’s a living testament to our dedication to fostering a harmonious relationship between human activities and nature. Our goal is to establish a lasting ecosystem that not only sustains native plants and animal life but also raises environmental awareness among all who visit. It’s about demonstrating that industry and nature can coexist and thrive together,” he said.
His remarks were delivered on his behalf by the company’s Sustainability Leader, Shannen Suckra Baker, at the official opening of the garden in Bull Bay, St. Thomas on October 6, which was designated National Tree Planting Day.
Mr. Castro noted that it is the company’s aim to have students from the nearby Bull Bay Primary and Infant School and students from universities across the island such as the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies benefitting from the space.
“It will be a place where students, children and adults alike can learn about the importance of biodiversity, ecosystems, and our responsibility as stewards of the land,” he added.
Mr. Castro also pointed out that the project fits into the mandate of CCCL’s ultimate parent company, Cemex, of conducting its operations in a sustainable manner and being responsible stewards of the lands managed.
“We pledge to minimize and mitigate the impact of our business on biodiversity and commit to protecting our planet for future generations. Together, we will promote and encourage programmes that conserve and enhance biodiversity. We believe that by working hand in hand with nature, we can achieve sustainable development for our society,” Mr. Castro noted.
Meanwhile, in remarks delivered on his behalf, Chief Executive Officer and Conservator of Forests, Ainsley A. Henry informed that since the launch of the National Tree Planting Initiative in 2019, which set a target of 3 million trees, a total of 2.7 million have so far been planted.
“We are happy and encouraged by all the Jamaicans who have helped us. We are not finished, and neither are we satisfied and that is why we continue to encourage everyone to plant trees.
Imagine how quickly we will not only reach but surpass our goal if more Jamaicans get involved and plant at least one tree,” he said.
Mr. Henry noted that planting a tree can help to regulate the increase in temperatures being felt, reduce the effects of climate change, and encourage community engagement.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Peter Knight, for his part, commended Cemex/Carib Cement for its community garden, noting that it will go a far way in combatting the “triple planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change”.
During the opening of the garden, the Forestry Department and NEPA assisted departments of the cement company, students and teachers from the Bull Bay Primary and Infant School and members of the community to plant Jamaican Mahogany and Lignum Vitae seedlings. Other seedlings previously planted in the garden include soursop, guava, and java plum.
Sustainability Leader at Caribbean Cement Company Limited, Shannen Suckra Baker (second left), participates in the planting of the Jamaican Mahogany seedling, at the officially commissioning of the Bull Bay Community Garden in St. Thomas on National Tree Planting Day on October 6. Others also participating from (left) are Contractor, Chief Executive Officer of Exclusive Maintenance Services, Wray Mullings; Acting Quality Coordinator, Ricard Hemmings; Professional in Development for Environment and Sustainability , Jordan De Sousa; Sustainability Engineer, Jason White and Quality Coordinator, Shaquina Francis.
Sustainability Leader at Caribbean Cement Company Limited, Shannen Suckra Baker (fifth left) participates in the official unveiling of signage at the commissioning of the Bull Bay Community Garden in St. Thomas on National Tree Planting Day, October 6. Others from left are, Professional in Development for Environment and Sustainability, Jordan De Sousa; Sustainability Engineer, Jason White; Air Quality Manager at the National Environment and Planning Agency, Jody-Ann Marston; community member, Mario Harley; Principal of the Bull Bay Primary and Infant School, Esther McFarlane-Smith, and Forestry Technician in the Biophysical Inventory Unit of the Forestry Department, Taneik Williams.