ON A MISSION: Barrington Bucknor, Lady Allen, Alfred Thomas, Tenesia Ramkisson and Hugh Porter sharing ideas at the recent launch.
JAMAICA needs more free-to-the-public green spaces. That’s the word from Lady Allen, patron of the Nature Preservation Foundation (NPF), who was delivering greetings at last Tuesday’s launch of the inaugural Hope Gardens Easter Festival, held at the botanical gardens in St. Andrew.
As Lady Allen and the event organizers explained, the aim of the festival is to heighten promotion of the property as a national green space that needs to be protected and further improved for the generations to come. “It’s the people’s gardens. It’s a beautiful space, but there are some things that are still lacking, like adequate bathroom facilities,” Lady Allen noted. “So some of the monies that are raised will be going to that sort of thing.”
According to the First Lady, the national importance of a property like the 200-acre Hope Gardens cannot be understated. “It’s a place of peace and quiet, where students can come and study. It’s a place that we cherish and we work hard to maintain. And we want more such green spaces. There aren’t enough of them across Jamaica.”
Alfred Thomas, the NPF Chairman, concurred. “At the moment, this is one of the only major green spaces available to the children and people of Jamaica, and we have been tasked to preserve it,” he said. “The gardens are over 100 years old, and we are on a mission for its redevelopment. We are appealing to corporate [Jamaica] to support the work we’re doing here, and we want other sponsors to come on board to support.”
Meanwhile, Jamaica Broilers, Grace, the RJR/Gleaner Group, RADA and Stewart’s Auto are among the sponsors already confirmed for the festival, initially scheduled for Easter Monday, April 13, prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
The event promises a host of fun activities for the whole family, says project team leader, Barrington Bucknor. In addition to a farmers’ market, children’s village and a free zoo tour, patrons will enjoy live musical performances from top reggae and dancehall acts, a car show (vintage and modern whips on display), a karaoke competition and a massive Jamaica Broilers food court.