Remarks by Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Prime Minister at the Tree Planting Ceremony on the Occasion of the Platinum Jubilee Celebration of Her Majesty the Queen at Government House on June 02, 2022
We have come today, imbued with euphoria and hope, with unforgettable experiences, enveloped with an unprecedented celebration of Queen Elizabeth the second, who at the tender age of 25, received her Royal Crown on June 02, 1953. The annals of history record Her Majesty the Queen as the first British Monarch to have experienced a Platinum Jubilee. Many countries today are the recipients of Her Majesty’s significant and timely contributions and involvement in their nations’ development and growth.
Through-out the Queen’s reign, she has officially planted more than 1500 trees all over the world and today we stand united with other nations in the commonwealth to participate in this tree planting which has become the commencement activity for her Platinum Jubilee. The simple act of planting a tree represents a substantive significance or an ingrained belief that the tree will grow to provide us with numerous environmental, social, and economic benefits needed for our country’s survival. One of the well-known Chinese proverbs says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”
It must have been the Queen’s intention for us to become active participants in planting of trees as an inexpensive way of reducing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen; absorbing pollutant gases and filtering out the particulates; reducing soil erosion due to floods; maintaining the temperature of surrounding areas by breaking up heat and releasing clean air.
It must have been her intention for us to maintain a habitable and clean planet for both human beings and birds and many other animals as trees open their doors to several species. For us to continue life and to thrive on this planet we must ensure that we as responsible citizens and residents do whatever is possible to prevent the depletion of the plant cover.
It must have been her intention for us to remember that trees remain a substantial source of food for humanity and animals and provide opportunities for children and adults to use their shade for recreational activities. On a hot day, nothing is equal to the shade we receive from a tree with an expansive canopy. These very trees are our natural air conditioners.
It must have been her intention for leaders to see the economic benefits of simply planting trees as this provides many raw materials for several industries including biotic materials such as wood, resin, fiber, honey, rubber, and many others.
It must have been the intention of Her Majesty to remind us of the powerful spiritual lesson that can be derived through the process of planting. Jeremiah compared us to a tree that is planted in fertile soil, on the bank of a river, to which it extends its roots, and from which it derives abundance of sap and nourishment. In the 17th chapter of Jeremiah verses 7 and 8 we read, ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.’
As we continue to bask in this celebratory moment in honour of Our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, let’s do so with a spirit of gratitude and pride for her 70 years of service. Climate change remains an existential threat to our country and the entire world. We must act intelligently and rapidly to save our planet. The ultimate power resides in our hands to ensure that we reverse the possible damages and dangers confronting planet earth today. The upcoming generation is depending on us. As the leader of this Federation, my pledge to you is that ‘pursuing a greener and more sustainable future by protecting and conserving our natural resources for future generations and for the betterment of our twin-island Nation’, remains a priority for my government. We remain resolute that we will develop and introduce new models of economic advancement that exists within the planetary boundaries as we face the future with hope and confidence
To Queen Elizabeth II, we salute you for your achievement and indelible service to the commonwealth.