Tuesday, February 20, 2018

'I will end with victory in a few days'

Kublalsingh seeks changes to JCC framework

Even as environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh has agreed to some of the parameters of the general framework signed by the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) and the Government, he maintained yesterday that no one was "bound to accept the recommendations" of the independent committee.

Kublalsingh said he was confident his hunger strike will end with a measure of victory within the next "few days".

"There are other actions continuing. We will continue parallel actions after this and we have a matter in court," he said as he completed day 20 of his hunger strike yesterday.

With regard to the framework agreement, he said: "This is just to provide the public with information, so they can make an assessment on their own; no one is bound to their conclusions, either the Government or the Highway Re-Route Movement. This is to provide public information, so that you yourselves can see whether Debe to Mon Desir (section of the highway) is good or bad," he said.

Amendments to the draft proposal between the JCC and the Works Ministry could end Kublalsingh's hunger strike. Kublalsingh reviewed the proposal on Monday night and refused only one part of the agreement and modifications to another part.

"Part three of the general framework must be restated to say that no construction work should begin in the Debe to Mon Desir highway, including the interchanges, whilst the committee meets," he said.

Part three of the general framework document reads: "Work will continue on sites of the highway released to the contractor."

The other amendments include the promise to undertake a cost-benefit analysis, a social-impact assessment report and a hydrology report.

"This (hunger strike) is about developing a new platform for government performance in Trinidad and Tobago, not the vikey-vie planning. If you are going to build a megaproject, do the thing properly," Kublalsingh said.

"What they are doing, they are deliberately ignoring certain instruments that have been handed down to us by our social scientists, for example, the cost-benefit analysis, so they could use that opportunity to squeeze fat out of the land of the people of Mon Desir and Debe and put it in the hands of contractors. Actually, immense corruption," he said.

Kublalsingh was visited by his wife, Dr Sylvia Moodie-Kublalsingh, who was adamant that her husband would not die as a result of his action. This was her third public visit to his side since the strike began on November 16.

Kublalsingh was also visited and entertained yesterday by sitarist Mungal Patasar and Fr Clyde Harvey, who prayed for his success. óRS