FINISHING UP: Workmen do the final paving at the Debe roundabout and Solomon Hochoy Highway on Friday. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK
Kublalsingh builds new camp at Penal
JUST over a year after the demolition by soldiers of a camp constructed by the Highway Re-Route Movement and its leader, environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, a new structure has been erected.
Kublalsingh said the purpose of the new camp at Gopee trace, Penal was trifold, “One, it is to monitor the State’s activity in the event they start grading works here and secondly we are here to inform the people. We are to have some camps, Mr Maharaj will come and inform people about their rights in terms of land acquisition and compensation and thirdly we want to build a prayer place. A prayer centre for people, a prayer centre which was destroyed by the last Minister of Works about one year ago,” Kublalsingh said.
Last year June then-minister of national security Jack Warner led soldiers to the camp site, ordered members out of the building and tore the structures apart.
Kublalsingh was detained by police, but released hours later without any criminal charge.
The new camp, Kublalsingh said, was constructed on private lands and the owner lived next door.
He yesterday told reporters that three weeks ago he met with representatives from National Infrastructure Development Co Ltd (Nidco) and was told that work will be starting shortly between Debe and Penal.
“They had put a bulldozer across there, they have now removed it, and they said they are coming back in the next week. They have already laid some culverts for crossing to start grading works to build a road between here and the Debe intersection so that’s why we are here, we are just at the beginning of where they want to start works between Debe and Penal... We have a constitutional duty if we see bulldozers coming this way to protect ourselves from the bulldozer because we believe that this Debe to Mon Desir highway is an atrocity, is a corrupt mega project and we should defeat it and fight against it. We want to tell the government, go and build the San Fernando to Point Fortin highway, that is the highway that people want, nobody is coming out and say we want Debe to Mon Desir,” he told reporters yesterday.
Kublalsingh wants Prime Minster Kamla Persad-Bissessar to abide by the a report from independent body the Highway Review Committee (HRC), headed by Dr James Armstrong.
Kublalsingh said the report has recommended that the State put a hold on the Debe to Mon Desir section of the Point Fortin Highway extension until further social, economic and environmental impact assessments are done.
Last year Kublalsingh staged a hunger strike outside the Prime Minister’s office in a bid to meet her and raise his concerns.
This never materialised. Two weeks ago he started daily “peaceful” protest and was able to meet Persad-Bissessar but the meeting ended abruptly.
Kublalsingh then met with President Anthony Carmona to discuss his concerns about the construction of the highway.