Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 15th 2014 Contents A5
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
As members of civil societies meet
with Works Minister Surujrattan
Rambachan today, leader of the High-
way Re-Route Movement (HRM) Dr
Wayne Kublalsingh says his fate lies
in the hands of the Government.
He said the outcome of today s meet-
ing would determine if he stops or con-
tinues the hunger strike.
In an interview with the T&T
Guardian at his home at D Abadie yes-
terday, Kublalsingh urged the Govern-
ment to accept the alternative route as
outlined in the HRM s optimum con-
"It s very solid. It s very comprehen-
sive. It s very workable and moderately
priced compared to the Government s
alternative," Kublalsingh said.
On whether he believed today s
meeting was an attempt to mediate the
"Mediation is when you have a third
party and the third party intercedes
and tries to look at the sides of both
parties and trash out issues and tries
to see if you have compromises if
required and come to the best optimum
solution... so this is not really medi-
"It is basically two sides meeting as
a first step to resolving the issue and
of course has the interest of nation at
heart," Kublalsingh said.
But Kublalsingh applauded the Gov-
ernment for its effort, saying today s
meeting was a step in the right direc-
However, he was still skeptical
whether the Government would accept
the alternative route as proposed by
"The Prime Minister said they have
considered the Armstrong Report and
we want to know how they have con-
sidered and to what extent they have
"Again that is nothing really because
we have not yet been given anything
from them so the hunger strike con-
tinues," Kublalsingh added.
Asked if he believed today s meeting
was a genuine attempt by the Govern-
ment to listen to the concerns of the
HRM Kublalsingh made references to
He said: "The past has been decisions
already being made and the Govern-
ment basically saying déjà vu and hold-
ing on to their positions and not willing
to make any adjustments.
"And there has been in the past a
great deal of insincerity and
stonewalling... basically refusing to
answer questions, saying that you for-
get, saying that it is in the hands of
other people, saying that you couldn t
remember those details... just giving
answers to get rid of the person. That
has been our dealings with the gov-
ernment," Kublalsingh added.
He said he hoped that situation had
changed so as to have more fruitful
discussions on the issue.
Those expected to attend the meeting
include leader of the Movement for
Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah and
founder of the Adult Literacy Tutors
Association (ALTA) Paula Lucie-Smith.
Vilma Kublalsingh, mother of
environmentalist and hunger
striker Wayne Kublalsingh, says
government supporters have been
spreading false rumours about
her son and her family.
She said so while sitting in sol-
idarity with 30-year-old Kahlil
Hassanali, a researcher who began
a 24-hour fast in support of the
Highway Re-route Movement yes-
terday. The protesters are camped
outside the Office of the Prime
Minister, St Clair.
The latest rumour, Vilma said,
was that the Kublalsinghs owned
property in Mon Desir.
"People have been calling and
asking us about this but that is
not true. We do not own any land
in Mon Desir," Vilma said.
She said government supporters
had also been spreading incorrect
information that the Government
had paid her son s medical bills
after he was taken to the St Clair
Medical Centre on Sunday.
"That is not true. We have paid
our own bills," she added.
Vilma said Kublalsingh was rest-
ing but had said he would continue
his hunger strike today.
"We will have to see how he
feels," she said.
Hassanali, whose brother, Satori,
spent 24 hours without food and
drink at the protest camp overnight
on Monday began his own 24-
hour stretch of the "relay fast" at
9 am yesterday.
The brothers are related to
deceased former President Noor
Hassanali. He was their great-
Saying he supported transparen-
cy, truth and justice, Kahlil sat
with members of the HRM, read-
ing a book and responding to ques-
tions from the media.
He said he had never met
Kublalsingh but had observed his
activism and had decided to join
friends on Sunday to show support
during a rally at Nelson Mandela
Park (King George V Park) on Sun-
The rally coincided with
Kublalsingh s being admitted to
the medical centre after he col-
lapsed on Maracas Beach on Day
26 of his hunger strike.
Hassanali, from Santa Cruz, said
he was in solidarity with Kublals-
ingh and had decided to be a part
of a youth movement called Project
40 after observing the activist s
"I had often wondered why it
seemed as though it was him alone
in the struggle," he said.
Project 40 is a group of young
people, committed to showing
support to the HRM by taking part
in individual fasts over a 40-day
period. Each member is expected
to fast for 24 hours, sometimes
outside the OPM.
"The young people need to
come out and be part of the strug-
gle. It is clear that Government
has been disingenuous and I
understand Wayne s frustrations,"
"There is a need for studies to
be done with regard to the high-
way. There were broken promises
and we as a society need to
increase our social, environmental
and moral consciousness," he
...'Fate of hunger strike
rests on meeting'
A Chinese national fell to his
death at the National Tennis Cen-
tre construction site, Tacarigua.
The Sport Company of T&T
(SPORTT) confirmed the death in
a release yesterday but said all safety
protocols were in place at the time.
The release said around 9 am,
Yumao He, 49, fell 30 feet off a
scaffold and landed on a pile of
lumber and iron. Eyewitnesses said
He, who died on the spot, was
wearing a safety harness at the time.
Work at the site has been stopped
until further notice.
SPORTT said it was now working
with the firm which hired He to
investigate the incident.
SPORTT said yesterday s accident
is the first at any project initiated
by it since 2010.
Chinese national falls to death at construction site
On statements made by Health Minister
Dr Fuad Khan which cast doubt over
Kublalsingh's health, the HRM leader said
such comments only strengthened his
He said: "I don't think that Dr Khan's
version is at all relevant. He has not seen
me and he has not examined me. That is
not an issue here. That is a diversion.
"The issue here is the Government is
ransacking part of the northern range to
ransack part of a lagoon, to ransack
communities, to attack the treasury in
the most serious kind of way and I'm
standing with my body between the
Government and those type of actions.
I'm using my body as an instrument of
Saying he had to keep his body intact,
Kublalsingh urged his detractors not to
abuse it with "such verbal mis-
"Yes I am strong but perhaps the reason
why I am strong is perhaps because he
(Khan) is weak. The reason why my
handshake is strong is because his
handshake is weak.
"I didn't feel any how when Dr Khan
made those statements because they do
not bother me. They make my spirit
stronger," Kublalsingh added.
Mom: We don't own land in Mon Desir
Works Minister Surujrattan
Rambachan is expected to host a
meeting today with civil-society
groups who petitioned on
Kublalsingh's behalf, along with a
technical team from his ministry and
This meeting will take place at 9 am
at the ministry on Richmond Street,
Rambachan had originally invited
the groups to tour the proposed
highway site today but they refused,
saying that would be repeating the
work of the Armstrong Committee.
A release from the ministry said
points of concern raised by the
groups in their letter to the Prime
Minister would be addressed
These included requests for the
• Properly consider the report and
recommendations of the Highway
Review Committee (the Armstrong
• Give serious consideration to the
new proposal by the HRM as an
alternative route for the Debe to
Mon Desir stretch.
• Stop all further work on that
segment of the highway in the
interim which would mean that
work could proceed apace on the
San Fernando to Point Fortin
Satori Hassanali, left, explains on a map the current route of the highway and the alternate route to
supporters, from second left, Kareem Ottley, Nigel Barrow and Gerry Williams during the Project 40
Movement fast outside the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday night. PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
WORKS MINISTER TO
MEET GROUPS TODAY
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