Pride Foundation outraged about loss historic tamarind tree

POSTED: 08/12/13 12:12 PM

St. Maarten – Members of the Sint Maarten Pride Foundation took notice of the shameless destruction of the old tamarind tree near the border monument at Bellevue/ Diamond Estate in Cole Bay with a great sense of loss and frustration. The tamarind tree, which is originally and African species was first brought to the Caribbean some three hundred years ago because of the tree’s many uses, the foundation stated in a press release.

The fruit of the tamarind tree is edible and has historically been used in many Caribbean dishes. The tree itself provides shade and was a gathering point for the telling of stories and the dissemination of oral history. This particular tree was very likely planted by one of our ancestors, perhaps a slave on the Diamond Estate Plantation in the early 1800s, to mark the boundary of a property, indicate the way to the border with the French Side or simply to provide shade.

Although Sint Maarten Pride Foundation opposed the causeway project the foundation foresaw that government would continue with its plans. Pride therefore repeatedly urged government to provide for the protection of particularly the historic tamarind trees in the area.

“The now former Minister of Vromi William Marlin and the Ministry itself assured environmental organizations that the tamarind tree in question would be incorporated in the causeway plans and protected accordingly,” the foundation stated. Former Minister Marlin made public statements indicating that plans were being adjusted to accommodate the historic tamarind tree and draft proposals to this end were presented to Pride Foundation board members.

“The foundation is therefore left to wonder why the historic tamarind tree was still knocked down. Did Government choose to take the cheap way out? Why was no effort made to prune and subsequently move the tree to the Emilio Wilson Estate? Tamarind trees are known to be a resilient species and an effort could have been made to save the tree. Why weren’t the environmental and natural heritage organizations consulted? Was this tamarind tree not protected under government’s policy for historic trees?”

Pride wonders whether the destruction of the historic tamarind tree in Cole Bay sets the tone for Minister Maurice Lake’s tenure. “If so, the foundation questions what is to become of the Emilio Wilson Estate, Little Bay Pond, Mullet Pond, the Fresh Pond, Red Pond, Sint Maarten’s few remaining manmade and natural national monuments and historic trees.”


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