ENVIRONMENTAL activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, who ended his 21-day hunger strike two days ago, urged yesterday for the highway construction to begin in Point Fortin while the complex issues related to the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the highway were resolved.
He said all works should be stopped in the Debe to Mon Desir area until the determination of the legal action filed by the Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM), and pending the report of an independent committee being set up to review the feasibility of the segment.
Kublalsingh, who spent yesterday at a sister's home in San Fernando, said that contractually, if work is suspended in one area of the highway and diverted to another" if they (Government) invoke that clause (in the contract) there would be no cost to the Government."
He said, "I think the Prime Minister should use her good grace and intervene." If work continues, he said he will have a meeting with HRM to decide " what the next course of action will be."
In the meantime, he is hoping that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar give instruction for all work to cease.
Kublalsingh said he was told by president of the National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Nidco) Dr Carson Charles just before he ended his hunger strike that work will continue on the Fyzabad Interchange but "they would try to keep the work to a minimal," and not acquire new property or invade private property.
Kublalsingh said the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) tried to get works to stop while the reviews were being conducted but were unsuccessful.
Kublalsingh said, "One of the things they (JCC) were not successful in doing was to get the Government to stop work on the interchanges because the interchanges have already been handed over to the contractors OAS Constructora. So they came out of the meeting without any assurance that the works is going to be stopped at the interchanges. I myself spoke to the JCC about it. I asked them to try again to see if they could get the Government to stop work at the interchanges. That was not successful."
He said, "The Government should really be honest with the people, suspend work in the interchanges in Fyzabad and switch work to Point Fortin to San Fernando and that is where the cry for the real highway is. That is what the people want. If it starts in Point Fortin, they get jobs quicker in that area and I agree with the people. We have been lobbying with the people down there to get the people to start the Point Fortin to San Fernando highway."
Kublalsingh said the HRM was not against the highway even though there are "orchestrated mistruths that are designed to give the people the impression that we are against the highway."
Kublalsingh said he was resting at home recovering from his hunger strike.
He said, "I am very well indeed, I am taking some light soups and light beverage and I am resting. I have family members around supporting me."
Kublalsingh said of his actions, "I have no regrets. I think that the people of Trinidad and Tobago woke up not because I did it. It was not me alone. If i did it I would not have changed anything. The people of Trinidad and Tobago especially rose up and force the Government not me. The people have been given power. They must feel the cutting edge of their power and they have the power to do it all the time to force the government to do the right thing."