A Government minister, a State agency and two bulldozers were awarded “tyres of shame” by members of the Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM) yesterday.
The movement’s leader Dr Wayne Kublalsingh said more tyres would be delivered as the Government has failed to abide by the recommendations of the Highway Review Committee on the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin.
The tyre diplomacy campaign began last month when Kublalsingh and members of the HRM placed a tyre on the front gates on the private residence of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
The old car tyre was tied with a piece of red cloth.
Kublalsingh said the badge of misconduct would be presented to all Cabinet members as work progresses on the multi-billion dollar highway project.
The group of residents affected by the construction of the highway from Debe to Mon Desir gathered at Gopie Trace, Penal, at around 9 a.m. yesterday.
Kublalsingh marched to Suchit Trace, Penal, where bulldozers were clearing land to make way for the construction of the highway.
“We moved to the Suchit Trace area where they began work between Debe and Mon Desir. We climbed onto bulldozers - one was operational and the other was stationary - and we put two tyres on them,” he said.
Kublalsingh said a worker objected as the group moved onto the site. “But we went past him. He said the authorities will be here soon but we never really waited for the authorities. We just went on the tractor and we told the driver himself that we had nothing to do with him. It is a tyre of shame to express our resentment and unhappiness with the Government which we find is misconducting itself in public office,” he said.
Kublalsingh and his group then moved to the Oropouche East constituency office, occupied by MP Roodal Moonilal. “We placed a tyre of the door of the constituency office as well. We are not satisfied with the MP’s representation and he too was presented with a tyre of shame,” he said.
A tyre was also strung at the entrance of the National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Nidco) sub-office in Debe. None of the employees inside the office walked out to caution Kublalsingh and his followers. The employees were meeting affected residents to discuss compensation and relocation issues, the Express was told.
Kublalsingh said the group met opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley last week to discuss their concerns. They also expect to meet President Anthony Carmona.
Kublalsingh said residents impacted by the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the highway were disappointed that work was ongoing at the site although the matter was being heard before the High Court.
“This is a disturbing development and we think this Government is behaving like a rogue government. They are guilty of misconduct in public office. This matter is before the High Court and the State has asked Justice (James) Aboud to recuse himself three times. They are using delay tactics to conduct work on the site without judicial interference,” he said.
Aboud was asked to recuse himself from presiding over the matter involving members of the Re-Route Movement, on the basis of apparent bias.
Since November 18 last year, State attorneys have been attempting to have the judge remove himself from the matter after his brother, environmentalist Gary
Aboud, was arrested during protests by the fishing community.
Members of the Re-Route Movement are seeking a conservatory order to stop works along the Debe to Mon Desir link of the highway extension.