Checks on Christmas trees after overseas inspections cancelled
Imported Christmas trees are under examination by Government officials who will check for possible infestations.
Staff from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will carry out inspections on the island as the team did not perform checks overseas this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said overseas inspections had been carried out for years.
He added: “The overseas pre-inspection allows inspectors from the DENR/Bermuda to thoroughly inspect the plantations from which the trees destined for Bermuda are harvested.
“If there are issues at the time of pre-inspection, the grower and agriculture/forestry departments are made aware that trees destined for Bermuda cannot originate from plantations with infestations.”
A ministry spokeswoman said that most importers were shipping Christmas trees to the island as usual.
But she added that availability in Bermuda could be affected by “the global resurgence of Covid-19 infections”, economic challenges and the risk of importing infested trees.
Mr Roban thanked DENR workers "for their hard work during this season“.
He added: “The staff has been working flat out to inspect the trees and meet delivery dates.
“I am grateful for their dedication and service.
“We will continue to work until the last trees have been delivered and are safely in homes across the island.”
The spokeswoman said that rules for the importation of plants included the issue of a permit that “stipulates the plant health – phytosanitary – conditions which must be met for plants to enter that country”.
She explained: “In response to any import permit issued by DENR for the importation of Christmas trees, the exporting country must inspect the product to be exported and affirm compliance via the issuance of a phytosanitary certificate.
“A phytosanitary certificate must accompany all incoming plant shipments.
“It should be noted that any incoming Christmas trees will not be permitted entry without a phytosanitary certificate and imported infested trees are incinerated.”