'Dry throat': Dr Wayne Kublalsingh

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DON'T LET HIM DIE

Highway protesters plead with PM to save KublasinghDay 4 of hunger strike

By Sue-Ann Wayow sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

IF Dr Wayne Kublalsingh dies because of the hunger strike he has undertaken—in protest action against the building of the San Fernando-to-Point Fortin Highway, Debe-to-Mon Desir route—then he would have suffered a more meaningful death than if he died from natural causes.

This is according to his 79-year-old father, Ray Kublalsingh.

The younger Kublalsingh embarked on a hunger strike last Thursday, not eating or drinking anything, until Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar contacts the Highway Re-Route Movement in "any form or fashion".

Yesterday was day four of that hunger strike and, by evening time, Wayne Kublalsingh complained of dehydration.

Ray Kublalsingh told the Express, "If he should die for a cause as this, I would not feel it as much if he died a natural death."

Environmentalist and University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer Wayne Kublalsingh, 53, said yesterday, "I feeling a little bit tired now. I am getting a bit dehydrated. My throat is dry. My mouth is dry. I hope that I can complete the end of tomorrow, when we meet in front the Prime Minister's office before something happens to my body."

The group is expected to gather in front of Persad-Bissessar's office in St Clair, Port of Spain today hoping to get a response from her.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure sent out a news release, stating that because the group has filed a lawsuit against the Government, it would have been "inadvisable, if not inappropriate" to meet with the group.

But Wayne Kublalsingh has refused to acknowledge any information given concerning the Debe-to-Mon Desir route unless that information came from Persad-Bissessar herself.

The group has written at least three letters to the Prime Minister, but there has been no direct response from her or her office, members said.

Ray Kublalsingh described his second child of eight children as the most "genuine human being" he knew. He said he worked hard to send all his children to school and he was proud that all of them were university graduates who were supportive of each other.

Ray Kublalsingh said, "His mother, sisters and brothers are very much concerned about him. They have had four prayer meetings for him, even though he does not attend. His mother prays for him for a half-hour every night. His wife cries every day since he went on this hunger strike."

He said his son was not politically motivated by anything and even turned down jobs offered by the Government.

Wayne Kublalsingh's son and only child, Ori Kublalsingh, who is studying law at UWI's campus in Cave Hill, Barbados, said he was worried about his father's health.

"I think there are a lot of mixed things involved there. I believe in what he does. I support him in whatever he does, but my main concern is his health. I really would like him to be around for a really long time and especially for my graduation in 2014."

Shereen Boodhai, a pharmacist with the group, pleaded with the Prime Minister through the media to contact to group because Wayne Kublalsingh's life "was at stake".

Boodhai said the last time the group had contact with Persad-Bissessar was when she met with them on March 16 and promised work would be halted until further investigations were completed.

Boodhai said, "It is within her (Persad-Bissessar)'s hand and within her power to do the right thing and save a man's life. Nobody in this country should have to go to these extremes to get what they are entitled to."

She said, "Dr Kublalsingh is already showing signs of dehydration. He is weak. His blood pressure has already gone down. His blood sugar has already gone down, and this is not good. We do not have a lot of time. A terrible thing is going to happen if something is not done soon.

"He is showing all the signs and symptoms of dehydration. He is in a critical stage. It is one thing to stay without food, but you should never stay without water for more than three days."

Attempts by the Express to get in contact with Persad-Bissessar through her public engagement adviser, Lisa Ghany, yesterday were futile.

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