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Wayne Kublalsingh's gifts to T&T

I spent two years as a PhD researcher studying the movement for and against the construction of the Alutrint aluminium smelter in Trinidad and through this witnessed the dynamics and formation of the People's Partnership Government and their electoral win in 2010.

It was always my policy to keep silent on matters that concern Trinidad and Trinidadians and to reflect my findings only in my scholarship; but today I choose to break that silence. To not do so would be inhumane.

I witnessed in 2009 and 2010 the extent to which politicians from the UNC and COP parties courted environmental and social justice activists in the country as well as people living in local communities.

The likes of Wayne Kublalsingh were seen as very useful to the UNC and COP, the very political parties that today govern the country and constitute a Government that is engaged in daring Wayne Kublalsingh to die.

I note that there are many debates about the merits of his approach and the validity of arguments for or against the planned route of the highway. However, what is really at stake here is not these matters per se, but the substance of the leaders of the COP and UNC parties. What these leaders are showing Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean, and the world at large is the measure of their worth. The issue is this: what is the worth of leaders who dare a citizen to die over an issue, any issue — is the issue irrelevant? What kinds of people behave like this? What does all of human history and wisdom tell us of the worth of such people? What would true leaders do?

The answers to these questions are the gifts that Wayne Kublalsingh is giving to Trinidadian citizens and leaders alike.

I hope that you would all find the courage and dignity to do the right thing.

Simone Mangal

New York

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