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I was never asked to move deadly tree in JVD — Turnbull

I was never asked to move deadly tree in JVD — Turnbull

Labour & Natural Resources Minister, Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull, has denied that he was ever asked to remove a tree that was involved in a deadly accident which happened recently just off the coast of Jost Van Dyke (JVD).
JVD is located within the Second Electoral District where Turnbull is currently seeking re-election as the District Representative.

While police investigations continue into the fatal accident, reports indicate that the victim collided with the tree while operating a dinghy at night just off the shore of Great Harbour in Jost Van Dyke.

Some observers have pointed out that the tree was uprooted and remained in the harbour since hurricanes Irma and Maria, nearly six years ago. Some persons have also shared that the tree was at various times decorated with lights. However, it is unclear whether the tree was illuminated at the time of the accident.

“Why was the tree still there? I don’t have a proper answer for why it stood there so long because, again, there were conflicting views about the tree,” Turnbull told the Cut Deep show last evening, March 29.

The Second District Representative explained that some residents of the district had asked for the tree to remain while others had pleaded for the tree to be removed.

Turnbull, who expressed condolences to the victim’s family, called the incident unfortunate and untimely, but insisted that he was never asked to remove the tree “as the District Rep”.

“Since I have been sitting over the last 10 months as Minister of Natural Resources, I have not seen any document of such. Since I have sat as District Representative, since the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria, I have not received any correspondence or any beckoning from the community … Again, there were different views,” he stated.

Turnbull said he had a conversation with police after the deadly incident happened and told them that the tree needs to be removed.

“So, I called the community partners, the person with the heavy equipment, the person from the ferry services, and the volunteers that came, and we pulled the tree out of the ocean,” Turnbull said.

He further shared that he was “absolutely devastated” about the loss of life in the incident and said this was despite the fact that some persons may examine the incident in hindsight and arrive at different perspectives.

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