Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 19th 2014 Contents A5
Friday, September 19, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Leader of the Highway Re-
Route Movement Dr Wayne
Kublalsingh said Prime Minis-
ter Kamla Persad-Bissessar is
wrong in her handling of the
disputed Debe to Mon Desir leg
of the Point Fortin Highway.
He also dismissed claims by
Persad-Bissessar that he was
holding the nation to ransom,
saying she was instead being
held to ransom by "certain peo-
ple" who have been "obstructing
her heart, kindness and integrity
to do the right thing."
Kublalsingh, who spoke to
members of the media at his
camp outside the Office of the
Prime Minister, St Clair,
responded to the letter sent by
Press office for the OPM Fran-
cis Joseph delivered the letter to
Kublalsingh around 10 am yes-
The letter said Kublalsingh
was on a self-destructive path
and that the Prime Minister was
compelled to listen to the views
of those who endured daily traf-
"Corruption inflicts the public
servant, a political system, a
Judiciary, even some arms of the
media. It is like a radioactive
force and that s a huge issue and
therefore we need to have a large
"The question of process is
also a large issue and the oppo-
site of process is corruption. We
need reconcilation and we need
dialogue. I think the Prime Min-
ister needs to be open to those
kind of approaches," Kublalsingh
The movement, he said, was
not about stopping the highway
but preserving the lagoon by re-
Kublalsingh said Persad-
Bissessar, in her letter, did not
speak about her promise of a
review of the highway or address
his initial first hunger strike
some two years ago which
resulted in the James Armstrong
He added: "I want to remind
the Prime Minister that at the
very beginning of this project
she said that she would micro
manage it so that there would
be no corruption.
"The then question is why is
there no particular tendering
process for this particular high-
"Why is it that Minister
Dookeran allowed this to pass
over his desk? We are saying
madam Prime Minister sit with
us and the technocrat and I think
this would be a very important
step in the road to independ-
While activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh continues
his hunger strike, Debe residents are supporting
minor adjustments being made to the contro-
versial Debe to Mon Desir section of the Point
Construction continued apace yesterday and
some residents said even though they were bracing
for impending floods and had great respect for
Kublalsingh, they did not want the highway to
Jenny Boodoo, the owner of Jenny s Mini Mart
and Vegetable Supplies, said she was thankful that
the Lord Shiva Mandir at Debe Trace will be saved.
The temple, a landmark in the area, was earmarked
for demolition but after consultation it was agreed
that the highway would pass behind the site.
She felt the highway would bring economic
rewards for many people.
Saying she was sympathetic to Kublalsingh,
Boodoo said engaging in a hunger strike was not
the best option.
"What did he achieve before? Nothing, so I
don t think a second hunger strike will stop the
highway," she said. Contractors were seen erecting
a wall around the popular mandir, which is perched
on the edge of the Oropouche river. Scores of
jhandis (Hindu flags) stood undisturbed by the
highway, which is cutting across several water
channels in the Oropouche Basin.
Nazamud Sahadath, of Pundit Trace said since
the construction started, Debe had experienced
the worst flooding in history.
"We are calling on Government to build a box
drain at Sahadath Avenue and this will take away
the water flow. Last month we had three feet of
water under the houses," Sahadath said. He added
that flood victims at Wellington Road got com-
pensation relief but residents of Pundit Trace were
Along Soomai and Rahamut Traces, rivers and
drains were blocked and overgrown with weeds
and fallen cables hung from leaning wooden poles.
The shells of partially demolished houses could
be seen at Gandhi Village.
Shaffi John, of Ramai Trace, said the highway
was needed because of the development that was
taking place in the southern regions.
"We have the university campus and the hospital
coming, so we need the highway," John said.
Navin Ragbir, of Gandhi Village, said the highway
would open up access to distant areas of the south.
"I have my own transport company and every
day I am on the road. Is real traffic to get out and
in, so I for sure want the highway," Ragbir said,
adding that the re-route activists should not try
to stop the highway. See Page A 12
Contacted yesterday, Kublalsingh said he
did not know adjustments had been made to
the Debe to Mon Desir segment, and to his
knowledge, the Lord Shiva Mandi was
earmarked for destruction.
"If they are saving the mandril, that is good
news," he said. But he said that would not
mean an end to his hunger strike.
"My issue is there are large risks involved
with this project. It would mean extensive
flooding; volumes of aggregate will be used
from the Northern Range; we will have the
destruction of 300 homes---25 houses have
already been broken down," Kublalsingh said.
A senior manager at the National
Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco)
said yesterday the highway will continue
despite Kublalsingh's hunger strike.
Kublalsingh on second day of hunger strike:
PM handling it wrong
Highway Re-route Movement leader Dr Wayne Kublalsingh reads the letter sent to him by Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the second day of his hunger strike outside the Office of the
Prime Minister, St Clair, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Regarding his health
Kublalsingh said he felt fine
and was spending a lot of
time in his wife's garden.
"I've been spending some
time with the plants and I
have been doing deep
breathing in that garden.
"And I have had a salt bath
in her bath. It was a privilege
to bathe in her bath yesterday
(Wednesday) afternoon. So
I'm doing pretty well. I don't
feel any negative impacts so
far," Kublalsingh added.
Unlike his previous hunger
strike which lasted 21 days
Kublalsingh said he did not
think he would "reach that
"I don't think I could even
reach five or six days so I am
willing to stay out here as
long as it is humanly possible
and until my body gives up of
which I would have no control
of the matter," he said.
'STAYING UNTIL MY BODY GIVES UP'
Kublalsingh's sister, Judy,
who is an attorney, said the
pending decision by the Privy
Council over an injunction
stopping the segment of the
highway was one element of
several other actions which
had been taken.
The High Court and the
Court of Appeal had refused
to stop the construction.
"You have had street action,
you have had diplomatic
action and there has been a
tremendous amount of that
and sacrifice and prayer.
"As it is there is no order of
the court which prevents
Wayne or any member of the
Highway Re-Route Movement
from engaging in any parallel
action outside of the court.
"The Prime Minister in her
response that this matter is
before the court and therefore
her hands are tied... any
emminent senior counsel and
any first year law student
knows that is absolute
nonsense... that statement is
disingenuous," Judy said.
She said at any point in
time the State can give any
undertaking before a court
and any sitting judge would be
happy to entertain that order
at which the parties may
On her brother's decision to
go on anther strike Judy said
no family members wanted
another strike as many of
them were hurt by that
She added: "I feel especially
hurt that in this century we
have an individual who has to
mount an individual protest of
this magnitude to compel
government to do the right
thing and obey the findings of
"I think Wayne as not
embarked upon this easily at
all. He has made this decision
very carefully and he hopes to
come out of this with his
health and life intact and I am
going to have faith for that.
He is spiritually strong."
Links Archive September 18th 2014 September 20th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page