The Lily Pond Bridge in the Chinese Garden at the Hope Royal Botanical Gardens in St. Andrew was officially handed over to Jamaica on Thursday (Oct. 3), after renovation work by the Government of China.
The structure is a central feature of the garden, which was developed by the Chinese and presented to the country as a gift in 2015.
Renovation of the bridge was made possible through the efforts of China’s Ambassador to Jamaica Tian Qi.
Wife of the Governor-General and Patroness of the Hope Royal Botanical Gardens, Lady Allen, expressed gratitude to China for sharing its 70th anniversary with Jamaica by generously sponsoring the refurbishing of the Lily Pond Bridge.
“We are extremely proud of this beautiful, peaceful space, which is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean,” Lady Allen said.
“Gratitude is a must; thanks to the friends dem who tek off heavy load,” she added, quoting a line from Reggae artiste Koffee’s hit song Toast.
Ambassador Qi, in his remarks, said the bridge is a symbol of the friendship between Jamaica and China.
“This small bridge also symbolises the connectivity and development of our nations and the construction of infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people synergies between our two countries,” he added.
Ambassador Qi said he hopes that the relationship will serve to increase investment, technology, employment, and financial cooperation between Jamaica and China.
“Confucius said it’s more joyful to share the joy than to be joyful alone, and China is ready to share the fruits of its development with Jamaica and our other friends in the world,” he added.
General Manager of Nature Preservation Foundation (NPF), which manages Hope Gardens, Hugh Porter, thanked Ambassador Qi for keeping his promise to repair the bridge.
“In Chinese culture, bridges symbolise intellectual and cultural scientific achievements, but for us, the bridge symbolises true friendship between our people… and we thank them very much,” he said.
He also commended the Chinese Ambassador for ensuring that the project was done on time and on budget.
The traditional Chinese Garden, established on some 11 acres of land, depicts the vast gardens of the Chinese emperors and members of the imperial family, and includes several exotic plants. It was constructed at a cost of more than $200 million.