TO MEET OR NOT: Kamla Persad-Bissessar

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What is the PM so afraid of?

It would be prudent to step back and assess the Kublalsingh vs Kamla situation. We have the Highway Re-Route Movement, Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, the PM and we have the residents who are in support of the Government's plans for the highway.

Dr Kublalsingh has attempted to do something about the fact that the efforts of his group have simmered by putting himself at the centre of the issue. The movement now has gained steam by his hunger strike. And what of the rest of his supporters? Where are they? Politicians have it way too easy with the Trini seven-day mentality.

Now for the other side. The PM has been confronted with a situation that poses a dilemma for her. The roots of her problems run deeper than this isolated issue and she is well aware of it. There has been a steady build-up of transgressions on the part of her Government, from the Reshmi fiasco all the way to Section 34. There is a general sense of resentment toward her and her administration among the population, the result of too many missteps, blunders, outright lies and blatant disregard for people's rights and freedoms.

If this society placed morality at the helm of its compass, she would not even have been elected to office based on her slate; however, people were desperate. They expected theft, they expected nepotism to a point but they didn't expect their rights to be taken, the Constitution to be undermined, and scandal after scandal to be exposed in the press.

Now the PM really has a problem — an eccentric academic, who is willing to test her once more in a public fashion.

She decided to influence public opinion in a more strategic way — disinformation and distraction. That's where the other group comes in, the previously invisible group of pro-highway supporters. It's amazing to me that a sizeable group of supporters, whose voices have previously been almost unheard, could surface overnight, armed with identical placards and signs. They were uniform in their behaviour and organised in their approach. Everything was well orchestrated. Where were they all along? Nobody knows, but they are supposedly the group of people, residents who are in support of the PM, which they made clear by the huge yellow UNC-themed sign with an oversized picture of Kamla's face.

The intention is to discredit Dr Kublalsingh by painting a picture of him which is selfish and myopic. One man standing against the majority, against progress, nothing more than a stubborn obstacle who is possibly breaking the law by "attempting suicide" in a petty tantrum. Except for the "suicide" claim this might have been true, if her group was authentic and if we had factual information regarding the numbers of those in support of and opposed to the highway.

A man's life is hanging in the balance but clearly the PM's position is one which is firmly against having a meeting.

The question is why? Why go through all that trouble with these supporters to avoid a simple meeting that can save a man's life? Jack Warner met with criminals and gang leaders in an effort to understand their plight and get answers on the crime situation.

The PM can't meet with Dr Kublalsingh? Could it have something to do with the fact that we have seen demonstrations from every group and class in society over every imaginable issue since she came into office? Could it be that if she met with Dr Kublalsingh she would set a precedent which would require her to actually address the citizenry on the myriad issues that her government has failed to deal with in a more direct and truthful manner?

Could it be that the people would actually have a voice once more? Could it be that she would effectively be opening up herself for proper questioning on the Section 34 issue? Is this merely a political move to avoid owning up to her failures? Could she just be playing politics? Of course not. Thankfully we all know that our PM cares for the lives and the rights of all and makes decisions based on fairness and compassion rather than self-interest.

Stephen Lee Baynes

via e-mail

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