Protesters resort to prayer
"And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage." Micah 2:2
Former government senator David Abdulah read this Bible verse as he joined members of the Highway Re-route movement in a day of prayer and fasting outside the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair yesterday.
Yesterday's day of prayer and fasting was organised by the movement after its camp was demolished by soldiers on Wednesday.
The movement instead set up camp on the pavement outside the Office of the Prime Minister just after 8 a.m. yesterday.
Environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh said the decision by members of the Re-route movement to set up camp outside Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's office was to get her attention.
Kublalsingh said the "spiritual force behind" the movement are its female members and they wanted to meet with Persad-Bissessar to discuss the issues relating to the construction of the highway.
"We are here to ask the Prime Minister to meet with us either today or tomorrow so that she could have a very nice chat with the women because the women are very important to our movement...they are the force behind the movement, the spiritual force behind the movement and they believe they can speak to her in a very cordial, very scientific and appropriate way so we can get some responses," Kublalsingh said.
"We have bypassed Mr Warner because we think he is a lost cause, he is pathological, and his puppet Mr Emmanuel George (Minister of Works and Infrastructure) is also pathological...he is basically a pathological obeyer. We would have no further dialogue with them, we want to dialogue with the prime minister now," he said.
Two female members of the Re-route movement, Carol Sukal and Elizabeth Rambharose, yesterday held a 30-minute meeting with the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister and head of the Public Service Reynold Cooper to discuss meeting with Persad-Bissessar.
Sukal described the meeting as "cordial" and said Cooper gave them specific instructions on how to set up a meeting Persad-Bissessar.
Kublalsingh said most of the documents requested by Cooper had already been submitted but the group would re-submit them.
A time frame was not given as to how long it may take for Persad-Bissessar to respond.
The group vowed to pray and fast for the next few days and are scheduled to return to the pavement outside the Office of the Prime Minister today.
If no response is given in time the protesters have signalled their intention to set up another camp close to the site where the last camp was demolished, Kublalsingh said.
Kublalsingh said he had no fear of returning.
Abdulah, the political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), was among several "persons of influence" who yesterday showed solidarity with the members of the movement in their day of prayer and fasting.
President general of the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget, Banking Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) president Vincent Cabrera, president of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) Joseph Remy, president of the Trinidad United Farmers Association (TUFA), Shiraz Khan were among the labour leaders who joined the members of the Highway Re-route movement yesterday.