Tuesday, September 26, 2017

'Kublalsingh acting like a spoilt child'

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Elated: Robbie Sewnath kisses his fiancee, Talika Nathan, after they received a Certificate of Comfort during Monday's distribution ceremony at the Diego Martin Community Centre in Diamond Vale. The couple occupy lands at Blue Basin in Diego Martin. —Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

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LEADER of Government Business Dr Roodal Moonilal on Monday chided environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh for behaving like a "spoilt child".

Kublalsingh needs to "grow up", Moonilal said.

Kublalsingh, 53, the leader of the Highway Re-route Movement, is on a hunger strike until he secures a meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to discuss the Government's plans to build a highway to Point Fortin.

Monday was day five of Kublalsingh's hunger strike.

Kublalsingh and members of the Highway Re-route Movement were seated on the pavement outside the Prime Minister's office in St Clair on Monday.

"The hunger strike is about having no food, no water, nothing at all which goes into my mouth by myself consciously until the Prime Minister relents," Kublalsingh told the Express at the strike camp.

Several citizens have expressed concern over Kublalsingh's health as a result of the hunger strike.

"I want to ensure them (concerned citizens) that I will be okay because we have persons in the medical field here," Kublalsingh said.

Regular checks were taken of Kublalsingh's vital signs by a male nurse of the San Fernando General Hospital at the protest site.

"If my vital signs start changing radically, he will take charge of me and I have given them the assurance that they will take my living body to the Port of Spain General Hospital to take care of me from there," Kublalsingh said. "They take my vital signs regularly, they do something about my blood and they take my pressure and so on. I am very surprised that I am doing so well after five days. I am shocked. I mean, I look terrible if you take off my jersey," he said.

Kublalsingh raised his white jersey and exposed his chest, including protruding ribs, to the Express. "I am feeling pretty okay. I feel a bit dehydrated and my heart rate is a bit up, my pressure is a bit low but I am okay," Kublalsingh said.

In the midst of his hunger strike, Kublalsingh also had to battle temptation as his comrade protesters ate and drank in front of him.

Moonilal, the Housing Minister, speaking to members of the media following a Certificate of Comfort distribution ceremony at the Central Diego Martin Community Centre, earlier slammed Kublalsingh for his "tactics".

"They (the Highway Re-route Movement members) sought to embarrass the Prime Minister. When that failed, they embarked upon guerilla tactics. They then went to the Prime Minister's residence, I am told up to last Saturday, where they terrorised her grandchildren and so on. That was their strategy," Moonilal said.

Moonilal said the hunger strike was the latest of Kublalsingh's tactics, and likened the activist's action to that of a spoilt child.

"He is not listening to his mom or his dad or his sisters in particular. They have all appealed to him to cut it out. He has decided not to listen. I am appealing to him. I mean I know him and his family very well for many years. I am appealing to him that public policy cannot be determined in this way," Moonilal said.

Kublalsingh described Moonilal as an "irrelevance".

"Dr Moonilal is an irrelevance at this time, he is irrelevant because he was the head of this organisation (the Highway Re-Route Movement), he who lobbied against the PNM (People's National Movement) government to stop this project and he lobbied in a most fierce and vociferous manner, and not only that, but he brought on Prakash Ramadhar and a team of lawyers to file a matter in the High Court against this particular highway. That is all I have to say about him. He is an irrelevance," Kublalsingh said.

Kublalsingh's mother, Vilma, was seated alongside her son when the Express visited him in St Clair on Monday.