Thursday, February 22, 2018

I won't stop 'until they take my body'

Kublalsingh hunger strike - Day 2


(BI) Feedloader User

Highway Re-Route Movement leader Dr Wayne Kublalsingh yesterday embarked on day two of his hunger strike to highlight the Government's continued work on the Debe to Mon Desir Highway. Kublalsingh set up a small tent outside Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's office in St Clair and delivered a letter to her through her press secretary, Dennis McComie.

"This is much more than a fast, this is a hunger strike. In a hunger strike you don't eat or drink anything until there is a response from the Prime Minister," said Kublalsingh, who last ate or drank at nine a.m. on Thursday.

Kublalsingh said he was prepared to continue his hunger strike until relevant State agencies stepped in to "take charge of his body".

"I don't know what they would do with it, but I suppose they will feed it to prevent anything. I don't know what the protocol is, I am not thinking that far ahead."

Kublalsingh called on Persad-Bissessar to respect the promise she made months ago to the people, that work would halt until several environmental and hydrological studies were completed.

"I was sitting next to the Prime Minister eight months ago, I was two feet away from her and she said: 'I promise to do a review and put this segment on hold'. I was very shocked to see two days ago going down to Monteil Trace in Fyzbad that they had started the interchange," he said.

The letter recalled several meetings earlier this year in March, June, September and October when Persad-Bissessar was cited as saying she promised to halt work pending the outcome of surveyor works and hydrology studies of the Oropouche Lagoon.

"We need to tell our leaders that leadership is a very sacred responsibility and when you make a promise to your citizens you have to keep that promise," he said.

Kublalsingh said the matter is still before the courts and as such it should not be touched until a final outcome.

"Let the court adjudicate on the matter."

He called on the Prime Minister to put together an independent team, which includes members of the Highway Re-route Movement, to talk about the feasibility of the project.

Kublalsingh said this matter has been going on since 2005 and the people have been "traumatised" in the interim.

"The Prime Minister ought to be sensitive to the needs of the people. The people there are traumatised, their lands are being threatened, their homes are being threatened. It is not an easy thing for people to go through."

Kublalsingh was yesterday visited by Oilfields' Workers Trade Union leader Ancel Roget and Banking and Insurance Workers Union (BIGWU) leader Vincent Cabrera who lent solidarity to his cause.