The Plant Shop: Environmental Spirit
July 28, 2006
The Plant Shop: Environmental Spirit

These days, persons are more attracted to plants. Whether indoor or outdoor plants, there is gravitation towards helping to preserve the environment. One outlet that caters for such needs is the Plant Shop.

It is situated in Bottom Town, otherwise known as Rose Place in Capital City Kingstown. The operators are Casmay and Junior Cottle.

The name Cottle rings a bell in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

During the explosive era of the late sixties and early seventies, when Black people all over the world were asserting their rights, Junior ‘Spirit’ Cottle became a symbol of the Vincentian resistance to colonial rule. He almost paid the ultimate price. At one time, a grave was already dug for him to be buried, in the aftermath of the death of Dominican-born Cecil Eric Allan Rawle on May 11, 1973. Rawle was then the Vincentian Attorney General.

Spirit as he is affectionately called, endured a period of turmoil, and spent over 11 years in jail, even though he was freed by a Privy Council ruling.

He was eventually freed in 1984, having served a sentence for shooting at the police. He still carries a bullet in his neck from that dramatic episode.

Today, he is like the “technical support,” to the Plant Shop. He regards the venture as his wife’s.

But being a family man, he is keen to ensure that the business grows.

Everyone knows Spirit and his outlook and experience in life.

Casmay is a born-again Christian. She and Junior have been married for 17 years and have three children aged 18, 17, and 14.

Casmay is originally from the suburban district of Sion Hill. A member of the Streams of Power Tabernacle, her faith in the Almighty is well established.

The Plant Shop carries its own lesson. A variety of plants are available: indoors or out door plants for home, office, or business use.

The Plant Shop developed after Casmay took part in the Micro-Enterprise Programme, run by the National Commercial Bank, was undertaken through the encouragement of the government.

But not only plants can be purchased at the shop. There is Gas supplied through the Petro-Caribe programme, and with Spirit being part of the Integrated Forest Management and Development Programme, the shop is an outlet for packaged charcoal. Spirit is connected to the Keepers of the Environment, a group based in Greggs, which is playing its role in the preservation of the natural surroundings.

Spirit expressed his views on his connection with the Plant Shop. “It feels good to be involved. You are making a contribution towards reducing global warming,” he said.

Spirit is appreciative of the value of trees to life.

“When you cut down trees, the world gets hotter,” he said.

Casmay has been in the Plant Shop from its inception in December 2004.

She admitted that the venture opened her love for plants. “It makes me love plants a lot,” she said.

She confessed that she has learnt a lot about plants: “I enjoy doing it,” she added.

Casmay outlined: “I give God thanks everyday for this favour he has given to us.”

She expressed surprise at the way persons have gravitated towards plants.

“I am amazed at how people are getting to love plants,” she said.

Casmay is looking forward to expanding the Plant Shop.

Asked about the differences between she and her husband, Casmay outlined “I ask God to give me patience. I pray a lot.”

She described him as a “a good man in all things.”

She has one wish: “I would like to see him be a born again Christian,” but she pointed out: “I accept him the way he is.”

Spirit is satisfied with the progress at the Plant Shop, but he is not pleased with what happens around.

“While we are improving this particular area, the river nearby is in a deplorable condition,” he mentioned.

He lamented the abuse rampant in his environs.

“People throw waste in the river. They go on the river banks and defecate,” and he is aggrieved that there is no regular clean up of the area.

There is a Public toilet nearby, but that does not operate all the time. And workers assigned to the beach complain of the prevalence of faeces.

The Plant Shop is a symbol of the struggle that Spirit has undergone. The venture is in the same area “where I had a shoot out with the Police.” That was in May 1973 when the Rose Place, and indeed, other sections of the City, underwent a siege in the final efforts to arrest Spirit.

He once had a Bar there, named Bomani, in honour of his colleague Marcus ‘Bomani’ James. His body was found on the Edinboro Beach just outside Kingstown, May 21, 1973, ten days after Rawle’s shooting. James died at age 18.

The Bar was uprooted during a previous regime and a new government returned Spirit to the spot. That’s where the Plant Shop operates.