Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 5th 2013 Contents A16
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 5, 2013
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee
Sing claims that samaan trees are
being felled at the Queen s Park
Savannah unknown to anyone.
Minister of Food Production Devant
Maharaj under whose purview the
Savannah falls said the trees are "dis-
And the Horticultural Services, a
division in the ministry said only one
samaan tree was felled in January.
At a general council meeting two
weeks ago, Lee Sing enquired about
the move to rid the Savannah of
He told the Sunday Guardian on
Wednesday he had no clue as to who
was cutting the trees or where they
were being disposed of.
He said there were questions sur-
rounding the storage of "the valuable
He claimed that five trees were cut
"recently" and major branches were
trimmed off of one tree close to Jern-
"I don t know when the valuable
timber has been cut where it has been
"And I don t think that the gov-
ernment has any interest in lumber
yards and what have you, so the ques-
tion is where are all these millions of
dollars in valuable samaan going?" he
But Maharaj said, "Mayor Lee Sing
knows not what he speaks."
Operators of sawmills said the
samaan wood was unpopular.
Lee Sing: Is it a secret?
The mayor wants to know if the
timber is being used in construction
He said it was his understanding
that samaan was very expensive.
Lee Sing said: "I have looked. I have
kept my eyes forward to see who is
doing it, but I have never been for-
tunate. I don t know if they are doing
it in the night.
"I have been asking but haven t
been able to find answers...short of
calling Devant Maharaj to enquire of
him, which I have not done."
He said the Savannah had not been
cleared of trees in that manner before
and said the relevant authorities should
have informed the public through press
He asked whether it was now a pro-
cedure to rid the Savannah of samaan
trees and if so, it should be made
known where the trees were disposed.
Lee Sing said, "If it is going to be
used for the President s House we
must know that.
"If it is going to be used to retrofit
fit the Cathedral, we must know that.
We can t be operating that way.
"You cut five samaan trees off the
Savannah and trim the last one there
and nobody knows.
Is it such a big secret?"
Minister: Trees diseased
There s no doubt the trees have
been cut, said Maharaj on Thursday.
"The trees have been cut on a reg-
ular basis when they are diseased.
"They were diseased," he said.
Maharaj said if Lee Sing had an
issue with the Ministry of Food Pro-
duction and himself then as a mayor
he ought to know the proper channels
to direct his comments.
He said, "I anxiously await that he
utilises the proper channels and not
stand up in the general council and
make wild accusations which he knows
"Mayor Lee Sing continues to high-
light his ignorance."
Horticultural Services: Only one tree
A representative of Horticultural
Services said only one samaan tree
was felled in January because it was
highly infested by termites.
She said it would have caused a
human health and safety concern.
The director Patrica Maharaj could
not be reached for comment.
However, the representative said
management of the trees was a con-
tinuous exercise since trees have a life
"People are used to seeing the trees
year after year but the trees are coming
to their dying stages.
"They need to be pruned and so
on, given that some of them are dis-
eased and may pose a threat. The pub-
lic also abuse the trees."
A tree-planting exercise will be held
Sawmill operators: Samaan wood
isn t popular.
Sawmill operators said it was "nice"
and "hard" wood but not valued like
teak or mahogany.
A representative at a D abadie
sawmill said samaan was no longer
He said older people knew more
about it but right now nobody was
"We have samaan packed up in the
sawmill here," he said.
The man said a samaan tree was
worth about $10,000 and that its size
made it expensive.
Lee Sing: Who cutting the samaan trees?
Recently-cut branches lie below one of the samaan trees around the
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