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Dead paper vendor leaves $52,000 in coins



TRINIDAD – Deonarine Maharaj, the landmark newspaper seller of Sangre Grande, has died at age 64.

And after he died last week Tuesday, his family was surprised to find, in one of his cupboards, $50,000 worth of coins, which he had hoarded during his 52-year career selling newspapers, including the Express.{{more}}

“I know he used to put coins in there but I did not know how much it was,” said his only sister, Tara Maharaj.

“It took seven men to carry the money to the bank.”

He was cremated on Friday on the banks of the Caroni Cremation Site. Saturday would have been his 65th birthday. From as early as age 15, “Deowa”, as he was known, followed in the footsteps of his mother, who was also a vendor. When his mother died, Deowa continued to sell his newspapers while going to school. For five years, he walked three miles every day back and forth with the papers in hand from Guaico Junction to Sangre Grande.

As the years went by, not only did he build a stand on wheels with shelves, but also a name for himself. He was a human landmark in Sangre Grande, said his niece, Indra Ojah-Maharaj.

“He would shout out the daily headlines to catch people’s attention. He somehow became a natural and started making his own headlines about anyone passing, by looking at them,” said Ojah-Maharaj.

In fact, he became such a part of the community landscape that a portrait of him was done and hung in the Bank of Nova Scotia, Sangre Grande, for sometime. It is now in the Sangre Grande Community Civic Centre.