Monday 22nd October, 2018-The ban placed on the importation of Royal and Coconut Palms has been lifted.
It was implemented in 2012, following the lethal yellowing disease caused by the plant hopper pest, which killed thousands of palms and coconut trees.
Three professionals who grow and export all kinds of plants from Florida, and who supply several Caribbean countries with ornamental plants for use on hotel properties and in the gardens of expensive private homes, were invited to Cabinet to address a multiplicity of challenges associated with lethal yellowing.
The professionals indicated that other countries in the Caribbean experienced the pest because of hurricane winds, migrating birds, and unclean cutlasses and other implements used to chop down infected plant. Those methods caused a spreading of the pest, the officials informed, and suggested that by cutting down the dead plants and burning their trunks, and by planting more palms, the new growths develop immunity to the pest.
Florida and other Caribbean island-countries have overcome the challenge by these methodologies.
The experts proposed the lifting of the ban, the planting of new palms, and methods of protection that lead to cleaner environments.
Several new hotel properties and existing hotels require palms in order to beautify their hotel environments; palms are also a unique Caribbean experience which serve as a draw to tourists. The landscape appears bare without palms, the Cabinet was told.