Tuesday, January 16, 2018

20 women also fasting with activist

TWENTY women are said to be fasting through the day in support of Dr Wayne Kublalsingh's hunger strike, which seeks to compel Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to halt work on the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the highway to Point Fortin, pending a technical review.

Today will be Kublalsingh's 16th day without food and water.

The Express was told yesterday the women, who are members or supporters of the Highway Re-Route Movement, are fasting and praying from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., refraining from eating and drinking limited water during the day.

They began their fast one day after Kublalsingh began his hunger strike on November 15.

Highway Re-Route Movement member Leela Boodhai said the women did not want their fast to be publicised as they were "silently supporting" Kublalsingh.

Boodhai, a pre-school teacher, has taken time off from her job to be with Kublalsingh outside the Prime Minister's office in St Clair.

She said it was not easy fasting for so long.

"At times I feel dehydrated. The first few days were fine and then afterwards I started getting a bit nervous. I feel very tired when I go home. I could actually feel the changes in my body but now I am accustomed to it so it does not really bother me as much."

Boodhai, 48, said not all of the women could come out in support every day to St Clair but they were praying and fasting at home and attending their neighbourhood temples.

"I am amazed at Dr Kublalsingh. I don't think there is another individual who could undergo such a thing. Honestly speaking, we thought he would not have made it past the first week of the fast. And he is still going strong.

She said there are two main reasons why there were not many supporters around Kublalsingh in Port of Spain.

Most of the women had to take care of their families and some feared victimisation.

The area was predominantly a United National Congress (UNC)-supported area and many were threatened if they supported the Re-Route Movement, Boodhai said.

David Abdulah, leader of the Movement for Social Justice, has visited Kublalsingh in St Clair several times.