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Friday 24 May 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Squatters destroyingthousands of trees

THE EDITOR: I commend the administration, teachers, and students of Hillview College, Tunapuna, for their valiant attention to the environment and demonstration of social responsibility by planting 200 trees outside the school’s compound. I noted that the Prime Minister, despite being affected with a back ailment, ensured that he was present at the ceremony.

These acts are unparalleled with the emotional pain and heartache that many citizens who reside some streets away from Hillview College feel on a daily basis as they watch squatters lay bare 20-30 acres of land that border the western bank of the Tunapuna River, from the northern end of Jordan Terrace traversing northwards to Mount St Benedict Gardens and surroundings.

This area once hosted vast amounts of bamboo, cedar, mahogany, immortelle and other types of green vegetation, coupled with iguanas, birds and other creatures. The lands are now being cleared by individuals who cut and burn to produce unplanned communities at a rapid pace, all with a total disregard for the fact that they do not own the land and are in fact stealing.

As a result of this action, the bank of the river is eroding rapidly, endangering a road and houses on its opposite bank. The Government will soon be forced to spend millions to rectify this situation if no action is taken now to curtail these irresponsible acts.

These lands seemingly have been part of a now abandoned private housing project that was initiated by a consortium of owners at Mt St Benedict Gardens. Squatters are indeed “making houses while the sun shines.”

Representatives of the Forestry Division, Curepe, at the request of some concerned citizens, visited the lands in mid-2017 to examine the cutting of trees etc. What is the outcome of this report?

The representative for Tunapuna and the councillor for the area are also well aware of this situation, having visited and made promises. What of the Tunapuna-Piarco Regional Corporation and its officers? Please ask them what is being done, if only for the sake of saving the environment, trees, and wildlife.

So while some diligent young people are planting 200 trees, others are destroying thousands. This is indeed a paradox, not only for Tunapuna but for the country.

D PAINER via e-mail

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