Thursday 29 October, 2020

Double Chaconia now the official flower of Trinidad and Tobago

The double Chaconia is now the official flower of Trinidad and Tobago.

The flower was formally recognised as the country’s third emblem following the passage of a Bill to amend the National Emblems of Trinidad and Tobago Regulation Act Chapter 1904 in Senate on Tuesday.

In seeking the amendment, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said the two other emblems established in the 1967 Act, the Coat of Arms and the national flag are unique to Trinidad and Tobago.

The third emblem, the single Chaconia, has, however, been subject to debate over its uniqueness to the country.

“Both academic literature emanating from the University of the West Indies and other sources and those who are familiar with Trinidad and Tobago flowers have established that the Chaconia, the single Chaconia, is not unique to Trinidad and Tobago and is found throughout Central America and other parts of the world where it originated and where it was carried,” he said.

“But among the experts, for several years this issue of uniqueness had been resolved and what we have been able to establish is that the double Chaconia, first cited in North East Trinidad is unique to Trinidad and Tobago and the debate has always been to place the national flower alongside the national flag and coat of arms not on the basis of distinctiveness but uniqueness.”

In her contribution to the debate, Senator Anita Haynes appealed for protection of the flower now that it is a national emblem.

She said once something is classified as a national symbol it gives it a certain amount of prestige, which opens the door for exploitation.

In calling for a robust civics and social studies programme in schools to instill national pride, Senator Haynes questioned the status of that project.

Senator Haynes also asked about any financial implications associated with that change since the single Chaconia is on legal documents such as the birth certificates.

In response, Rambharat said Cabinet made the decision last year to have the flower planted in every school.

“This is a very difficult plant to propagate, it takes about a year and the work to get that done has already started,” he said, revealing that it will be done with the Horticultural Society, 4 H Clubs and the Ministry of Education.

On the issue of costs, he said the Chaconia is on our coins and some bills, as well as birth papers and changes, will be made over time.  

The Bill was passed unanimously.

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