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…residents say left in the dark by town council
In a move described by many as a blow to the town’s history and which has sparked outrage on social media, the Mayor and Town Council of Mabaruma in the North West District has been handed a contract by the government to cut down the rubber trees which line the Philbert Pierre Avenue at the hill-top community.
According to a statement posted on the Facebook page of Mabaruma Mayor Chris Phang on Tuesday night, road users and the general public at large were advised that there will be a closure of the road in the Mabaruma Compound Area from January 27, 2021 to facilitate the cutting of the rubber trees. No reason was given by the council for the cutting of the trees.
“All persons and vehicles are asked to use the Backroad from the Broomes Playfield to King James Gocery shop & the Road between NIS and the Power company to the Mabaruma Nursery School, which will be directed by a traffic rank. We do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause,everyone (drivers and commuters) are asked to cooperate for the Development of Mabaruma. Thank you.”The contract was awarded to the town council by the Ministry of Public Works.
The move would be a complete change in posture taken by the authorities in the region since in the past , many opposed the cutting of the trees when a road expansion project , undertaken by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Regional administration under the former APNU+AFC government, was being undertaken late in 2019 into early last year.At the time , the road was being realigned to facilitate the growing volume of road traffic in the town.
The statement by the town council was not taken lightly by residents as many persons noted the significance of the trees to the town and its rich history. However, others have noted that the trees have become old and pose a threat to the safety of pedestrians and vehicles which traverse the roadway.
When a decision to cut the trees was made by the former administration , a petition which garnered over 2500 signatures was drawn up to save the trees. Phang told the media at the time that decision on the way forward hinged on consultations with residents.
Residents told the Village Voice News on Tuesday night that neither the regional administration nor the town council made any moves to consult with the town’s constituencies regarding the cutting of the trees.
Reports are the decision was made several weeks ago but the government and the regional administration have kept residents in the dark about the move.