Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 31st 2015 Contents A17
Monday, August 31, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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My name is Bede Rajahram and I am
the president of the Trinidad & Tobago Bee-
Rajahram is an unusual spelling of
an unusual name! Bede is an unusual
name, too. I was born on the saint day of
Saint Bede. My wife is Deepa.
I was a Catholic but I m Hindu now.
Well, I m more open-minded than any-
thing else. I ll equally go to temple, mosque
or church. But more not go to any, really.
When I m in the forest, that s my church.
I came down Diego Martin when I
got married. We ve been there for the last
31 years but I still think of myself as "coming
I have elementary, secondary and
some university education. I think I m
a perpetual student. I study beekeeping
and travel for beekeeping conferences but
not to Vegas. I ve been to Miami, Guyana,
Grenada, St Croix just last year.
In Trinidad, we have Africanised
bees. Most beekeepers today grew up
with European bees. You can be very
rough with them. Bang your smoker
will come out and look at you and go
back in. You even open a cover too roughly
with Africanised bees and they coming out
at you. And not to investigate, they coming
to sting! I wouldn t say they re "bad"---
they re defensive. Handling them is a little
Lord Kitchener s song, "The Bees
Melody" is a beautiful piece of music
I identify with. I ve lost check of how
many times I ve
been stung. But I
don t get stung often
again, because I ve
learned how to han-
dle the bees proper-
In about 1979,
the Ministry was
giving courses at
the St Augustine
Curepe. They had
this beekeeping and I was absolutely fascinated. From
that time onwards, I kept learning about bees. I have
close to 35 years experience.
When you realise how valuable they are, you
start to see a different angle to bees. Most people
don t realise that one-third of the food they eat is
because of bees. The world is losing bees at an alarm-
ing rate, especially in North America and Europe.
We now have to protect what is ours.
35 years is a long time to be with bees. But,
in the hives, you get peace and quiet.
I m seeing the failure of agriculture. Nothing
seems to have improved, regardless of the gov-
ernment; things actually seem to be worsening!
Recently the Trade Minister made attempts to
change the law [against imported honey], with-
out setting up the protective machinery. We
could lose all our bees! Diseases will come in in
the honey itself. Somebody just has to pour their
honey and leave it outside and there s a little drip
that comes down. Bees have a very strong sense of
smell. They ll carry that honey back to the hive. The
bacteria starts to multiply and, very soon, you have
a full-scale disease.
Trinidad is basically organic: we don t use
chemicals against any disease that affects bees.
If we had a disease come in through foreign imported
honey [and it required chemical responses], we would
no longer be considered organic---which would close
off a lot of our market, to a lot of countries.
Trinidad and Tobago means home to me. I ve
travelled to a lot of countries and there are very few
I would like to stay in.
Read a longer version of this feature at
Two bees are not to Bede
TRINI TO D BONE
as told to BC Pires
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