Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Bury your ‘navel string’ here - Burial site for umbilical cords proposed for planned Portmore Climate Change Park

Published:Sunday | April 10, 2016 | 4:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Two residents of Portmore use the proposed Climate Change Park as a shortcut to get to their destination.
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A burying ground for the 'navel strings' (umbilical cord) of newborns is one of the features being considered for the proposed Climate Change Park for Portmore, St Catherine, but mothers will have to pay a fee to reserve this ceremonial space.

According to acting Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas, this is just one of the many features of the new park that is being funded by the German City of Hagen and Jamaica at a cost of more than $66 million.

The park is being built on 15 acres of land across from the Portmore Mall. "If you are going to be having your baby, the baby navel string can be planted in the park with a tree, and that will come with a cost," Thomas told The Sunday Gleaner last Friday during a meeting at the office of the Portmore Municipal Council.

"So instead of people now throwing away their baby's navel string, they can bury it in the park with a plant. It will be labelled, so when the tree grows, when the baby becomes an adult, he can identify the tree with himself," said Thomas.

The planting of a baby's navel string was for a long time a common post-partum ritual in Jamaica, and the fruitfulness of the tree was said to determine the child's future success. This navel string was often planted on a plot of land owned by the family.

"My navel string was planted under a breadfruit tree in Clarendon and every time that breadfruit bear, I always get breadfruit from it," added Thomas.

ceremonial spot

But apart from this ceremonial spot, the acting mayor said the Climate Change Park will be better than any other park existing in the country because of its focus on environmental preservation.

"It is going to be better than Emancipation Park. We are going to have the jogging trail, we are going to have the amphitheatre, we are going to have windmills, we are going to have solar panel, we are going to have administrative buildings," he said.

"We also plan to have weddings and birthdays parties inside there," added the acting mayor, who said the park will also boast a museum which will provide unique educational opportunities for schoolchildren since it will boast a wide variety of species.

The delay in the building of the park, which was announced in 2014, has been a major concern for residents of Passagefort, who said that the huge acre of land has degenerated into a dust bowl which is affecting their health and finances. However, representatives of both Hagen and the Portmore Municipal Council have reaffirmed their commitment to the project, which is expected to be completed between 2017 and 2018.

"We want to start some work out there within the next three weeks or so. We want to put in the fence. We want to secure the premises, so you will be seeing some things. Between the end of this month and next month, you should be seeing some activities taking place out there," Thomas assured.