Saturday, January 20, 2018


Emotions run high at hunger strike camp


FAMILY MATTER: Karen Kublalsingh, left, yesterday makes her point to her sister Judy, right, after making an emotional call for her brother Dr Wayne Kublalsingh to be hospitalised on Day 14 of his hunger strike outside the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. –Photos: ANISTO ALVES

(BI) Feedloader User

AN emotional face-off between the sisters of hunger striker Dr Wayne Kublalsingh added to the already heightened tensions created by the police presence at the makeshift camp site outside the Prime Minister's office in St Clair yesterday.

One sister, Karen Kublalsingh, knelt by Kublalsingh's gurney on Gray Street yesterday and attempted to persuade him to end his two-week-long hunger strike and be taken to the hospital.

"Please leave. Just please leave," he told her, sitting and making attempts to move away from her. Another sister, attorney Judy Kublalsingh, intervened, asking her to leave him alone and warned Karen that she would only upset their brother and create a scene.

But Karen refused to be quieted.

"We have had enough and it is time to put a stop to this. Do you want my brother to die? Would that help this cause?" she asked members of the re-route camp sitting nearby.

She was eventually pulled away from Kublalsingh's side and the sisters and Kublalsingh's wife, Dr Sylvia Moodie-Kublalsingh, moved to the back of the ambulance to continue speaking quietly.

While Moodie-Kublalsingh and another sister Faith Kublalsingh attempted to talk quietly with her, brother Hayden Kublalsingh walked the environmental activist into the ambulance for his periodic check ups.

"We grew up with a bond and he is breaking that bond," Karen told the other sisters and his wife.

"We cannot afford to lose him, we need to take charge of him, enough is enough. I don't understand how we can stand by and watch a man disintegrate before our eyes, how can you stand up and watch a man die in front your eyes?" she asked her sisters.

"We need to take a stand as his family. Today is the end, we cannot go on like that. I am not going to stand by and watch my brother die in front of everybody. Where is the compassion, where is the humanity for my brother?" Karen asked before bursting into tears.

Moodie-Kublalsingh then hugged her.

Karen told the media to "put down the cameras and put down the notebooks and go and save his life".

She was soon mollified by reassurances from her siblings that Kublalsingh would be seen by a doctor. Blood was drawn a few hours later and sent for testing.

Despite that emotional scene, Kublalsingh returned to his vigil, saying that he would in fact be back in front the Prime Minister's office today from 10 a.m. to continue day 15 of his hunger strike.

Meanwhile, Congress of the People chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan was yesterday warmly welcomed as she visited Kublalsingh. She caught up with him just as he was being led into a waiting ambulance and told him she "supported his strong conviction".

While she told him there were merits to both sides of the impasse, she urged him to reconsider his commitment as the country needed people like him.

"We must act in the interest of the country and you know I believe in the dialogue process. You need to survive, we have other projects that we need you for, " she said.

He asked Seepersad-Bachan to relay a message to the Prime Minister for him.

"Tell her that we are ready for the dialogue as soon as she is ready," he said.