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Jun 22, 2005

Giant tree falls in Flowers Bank

Story PictureObituaries are a staple of any local newscast and to qualify you usually need to be reasonably famous or extremely old. The subject of our next story qualifies on both counts… and today I attended the wake.

Rosella Robinson, Flowers Bank Resident
?This was a friend of the whole village, not only me. I know when this tree fall it feel like it was part of the family, it feel like dah somebody fi me just past away.?

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Today the tiny community of Flowers Bank in the Belize River Valley is mourning one of its own. At high noon on Monday, the village?s most famous landmark came crashing back down to earth.

Rosella Robinson
?This was my friend from childbirth because from I have good sense I see this tree… I stand up by the table and I hear something crack like a big sound. Straight in front of me I look, you see where the window is, I look straight cross this side and I see…oh my Lord, oh my Lord, I see the tree coming, coming, coming. And all I could seh is ?Oh my Lord, Oh my Lord? when it drop.?

?Like how this tree fall down now, I don?t know, we look lost, I feel lost, the whole village look lost to me.?

No one the village can say for certain how old the tree was but it is believed that it was planted at this spot at least two centuries ago, and had grown to a height of more than one hundred and fifty feet.

But the real contention in the village is in the tree?s pedigree.

Sharon Robinson, Chairlady, Flowers Bank
?I don?t think it?s a fig tree you know. Some fig do grow on it, but I think it?s the parasite that cause it to die that grow the fig, I don?t.?

Janelle Chanona
?Did it use to produce anything, a fruit or anything??

Sharon Robinson
?The tree itself do produce a fruit, it looks like a tambran [tamarind] but it?s not really a tambran.?

?We call it the ?beef tree? from we grow up we know the older heads call it the ?beef tree? because the cows eat the fruit when it drops to the ground, the cows eat it so I guess that?s why they call it the beef tree.?

Flowers Bank usually makes the news as a safe haven for Howler Monkeys… or for its highly competitive cricket matches.

Villagers are still awestruck that the tree didn?t fall during one such game held this past Saturday as gusty winds and intense heat drove hundreds of spectators to seek its shade. The empty benches and makeshift chairs beneath the massive trunk are testimony to just how close the village came to tragedy.

With their legendary landmark gone, residents of the area say they will now start a massive clean up campaign and then they will plant new roots in the ground.

Sharon Robinson
?One of the members of the members of the community seh he does have a tree that he will plant to replace the tree and… Oh boy, everybody is so sad because of this tree falling down.?

It is hoped that when workers begin sawing the tree into small pieces, a look at its cross section will reveal just how old the giant was. But as to its genes, tonight we are reliably informed that while the tree is locally referred to as the “beef tree” it is scientifically classified as cojoba arborea, a member of the bukut family.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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