Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, April 30, 2014
JENSEN LA VENDE and
The raging bushfire over the
last six days, which scorched the
Northern Range leaving moun-
tains bare, has moved east,
threatening homes in the posh
Lady Chancellor community and
burning the hills of Maraval.
Among those affected were
business mogul Arthur Lok Jack
whose employees were able to
douse the flames near his home
In a telephone interview yes-
terday, Lok Jack said the fire came
close to his Chancellor Hill home
around 3.30 pm on Monday.
Lok Jack said the swift action
by his gardeners and those who
were at home saved the house.
He added that his home, along
with two others on the same com-
pound, were all equipped with
water pumps and fire hoses which
were used to put out the fire.
He said fire officials were in the
area on Sunday night monitoring
the blaze but failed to show on
Monday afternoon when they were
He described the fire as "sig-
nificantly big" and one of the
worst he had faced in his 40 years
living there. The incident was
highlighted on Papa Bois Conser-
vation s Facebook page.
Nigel David, a member of the
Fondes Amandes Reforestation
project, St Ann s, said the blaze
started last Thursday after a vil-
lager lit a fire in his garden. It
quickly spread, burning out the
entire top of the pine-covered
mountain, David recalled.
He said desperate members of
the project, using firebeaters pro-
vided by the Forestry Division,
and some homemade ones com-
prising juniper bush, tried to do
what they could to prevent the
fire, already in backyards, from
"We were mainly trying to pro-
tect people s houses. The fire was
He said he was not scared since
he has had many encounters with
bushfires in his 14 years on the
project. The last fire was in 1997.
David said the Fire Services
came but could do precious little
because officers could not get to
"We began calling for the bambi
buckets but they did not come
until Friday evening, a day later.
We got a whole runaround.
"By this time the fire had
reached all the way up to the
Chancellor lookout and spread
over into Simeon Valley. If we had
gotten them earlier, the fire would
have been contained."
He claimed the helicopter actu-
ally also made things worse.
"How the pilot was coming
close, the helicopter started to help
the fire spread."
He said members of the Fondes
Amandes project also asked for
water pumps which users could
carry on their backs but did not
"We have two but one needs
servicing," he added.
David said all smoke from that
particular fire is gone now. "The
place real breezy."
Met Office: Weather normal
A climatologist from the Met
Office said so far it appears as if
all was going according to nature s
schedule, as far as the rainy and
dry seasons were concerned.
"The dry season is from January
to May and the rainy from June
to December, with May being
As for a repeat of the terrible
2010 drought that caused a pro-
longed dry season, she said they
were not seeing any signs of that
happening this year.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnar-
ine says his ministry is investigat-
ing reports of more illegal activity
in the retail energy sector, this time
in the blackmarket sale of cooking
He said filled cooking gas cylinders
were reportedly being snuck out of
this country for destinations in the
region where LPG tanks were being
sold for at least five times higher
than the price sold locally.
T&T was reported to be the only
island in Caribbean where cooking
gas was subsidised.
The minister was speaking at the
LPG Dealers Association annual din-
ner at Kapok Hotel, Maraval, on Sat-
A 20-pound cylinder of cooking
gas cost consumers between $22-
$25. The price variation is deter-
mined by whether it is purchased
at gas stations or retail depots across
the country or on roving sales trucks.
The volume of LPG being sold in
T&T, said Ramnarine, was gradually
increasing. In fiscal 2008 the amount
of LPG sold in T&T was 125 million
pounds. That had increased to 140
million pounds in 2013, he added.
He wondered if people were cook-
ing more food or they were cooking
the same amount of food for longer
Ramnarine told the T&T Guardian
that news of this development came
almost four months after the State s
crackdown on the blackmarket sale
of diesel fuel.
The ministry was now seeking to
clamp down on illegal sale of the
LPG, he added.
Ramnarine said there were
approximately one million LPG
cylinders in circulation in the coun-
try, the majority being 20-pound
He added: "T&T s LPG is the
cheapest in the Caribbean. What
the average Jamaican pays for LPG
is nowhere close to what we in T&T
pay for it.
"I am told that to have a 100-
pound cylinder in your yard in
Jamaica is to be considered some-
body who is well off. In T&T, most
middle class dwelling in this country
have two 100-pound cylinders.
"The country needs to know that
its LPG is subsidised by Petrotrin
but when the cat cracker is down
we get our LPG from Phoenix Park.
"But Phoenix Park sells its LPG
at world market prices which is
about eight times more than what
Petrotrin would sell to NP, so when
that happens Government has to
step in and compensate NP for buy-
ing LPG for world market prices.
LPG is very important," Ramnarine
A snapshot of the bushfire which threatened the Lady Chancellor Hill, Port-of-Spain, home of business mogul
Arthur Lok Jack on Monday. PHOTO COURTESY PAPA BOIS CONSERVATION
6-day bushfire now
sale of gas tanks
Arthur Lok Jack
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