Agriculture Ministry on bee attack: Stay away from Palmiste Park for now

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Salesman Jeffrey Ramroop is assisted by Rapidfire Kidz Foundation president Kevin Ratiram, left, and an unidentifed man after he was attacked by a swarm of bees while selling his kites at Palmiste Park, San Fernando on Monday. Ramroop and three other were hospitalised after the incident. – AYANNA KINSALE

The man who was attacked by a swarm of bees at Palmiste Park, San Fernando, on April 1 (Easter Monday) has been discharged from hospital.

Jeffrey Ramroop, 29, of Duncan Village in San Fernando, said he was given medication and was resting at home. “I got medication for three days and they say I must stay away from alcohol. I am doing fine now. I came home about an hour ago,”

Ramroop told Newsday shortly after 5 pm on Tuesday. He was selling kites, hair accessories, and other products at the park when the bees attacked him and other people shortly after 4 pm on Monday.

He and at least four others sought treatment at the San Fernando General Hospital. Ramroop was unsure if anyone else was hospitalized, as none of them was in the same ward as him.

He said he usually sold on Sundays and public holidays. Ambulance personnel took him to the hospital, and he left his goods behind.

“I cannot say if they would still be there, but I would not be going for anything right now. The rain is falling, so that is not possible.” From what he was told, someone’s perfume might have agitated the bees.

The Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Ministry confirmed the bee abatement unit of County Victoria (Regional Administration South Division) held a surveillance exercise and identified seven hives in the park.

A statement from the ministry on Tuesday said the hives had the potential to pose further harm to park users if disturbed. Given the serious risks associated with bee stings, the ministry is urging people to be cautious and avoid the park until further notice.

“These hives are in trees at heights of ten meters (30 feet) or more. The ministry has been collaborating with the San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC) and arrangements have been made to address this imminent threat to public safety,” the statement said. “Furthermore, it is essential to exercise due vigilance and refrain from disturbing the bees if using the park. The safety of our citizens remains our top priority, and we appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the public during this time.”

Technical teams from the ministry and the corporation are scheduled to return to the site on April 3 at 8.30 am.

The bee abatement unit is expected to remove accessible hives and do abatement activities on those hives that are difficult to access but pose a high risk to park users.

The statement said the ministry was deeply concerned about the incident, which injured several people who were enjoying recreational activities.

“The safety and well-being of the public, particularly in recreational spaces where families and individuals gather for leisure activities, remain our top priority,” the statement said.

Line minister Kazim Hosein emphasized the importance of public safety in light of the incident. He too urged people to heed the advice of the authorities and avoid entering Palmiste Park until further notice.

“Bee stings can cause serious injury or even death, particularly for those who are allergic. We are taking proactive measures to address the situation and ensure the safety of park users. Let us all exercise caution and prioritize safety in our recreational activities,” the statement quoted him as saying.

The attack happened near an event, Critters and Cars by the Playpark, hosted by NGO Rapidfire Kidz Foundation and Team Fast Parts at Palmiste Park. The event was shut down early out of an abundance of caution.