I have a nation to run

By Newsday Staff
November 21, 2012 – newsday.co.tt

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-BissessarPRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad-Bissessar has offered “prayerful support” to the mother of environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingsh — currently on a hunger strike — for his health and well being, but has also noted that she, as Prime Minister, has a country to run.

“As Prime Minister, I also have a duty and an obligation to the nation in ensuring that all matters are dealt with fairly and in the interest of everyone,” Persad-Bissessar said in her letter of response to Kublalsingh’s mother Vilma Kublalsingh, who wrote the PM on Monday asking that she meet with Kublalsingh.

Kublalsingh was yesterday in his sixth day of a hunger strike outside the Prime Minister’s St Clair office as he protests the proposed Mon Desir to Debe section of the billion-dollar Point Fortin to San Fernando Highway which is in the preliminary stage of construction and the failure of Persad-Bissessar to meet with him.

In her letter, Persad-Bissessar wrote: “As you know, I did meet with Wayne and took the decision to put on hold a section of the extension of the Solomon Hochoy Highway to Point Fortin development, until discussions were held and a technical evaluation conducted.”

The conditions, she said, were met and compromises made. “But the insistence of the Highway Re-route Movement to stop the project,” Persad-Bissessar said, “is not tenable and the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens who will enjoy the positive benefits of the road linkages for generations to come cannot be denied.”

While she admired Kublalsingh’s strength of conviction, Persad-Bissessar wrote: “I am not so sure that the measures used to express his views are good for him or the cause he represents.”

Persad-Bissessar said she shared, “a deep understanding of the need for causes such as Wayne’s but not of the effects in this particular matter.”

Persad-Bissessar assured Vilma Kublalsingh that as a mother and Prime Minister, she has put in place all measures, “to ensure your son is well looked after albeit within the confines of whatever he allows.”

Vilma Kublalsingh’s “brief note”, Persad-Bissessar said, “tugged at my heart strings when I read it for I know what your son’s actions must be putting you through.” Responding to Persad-Bissessar’s letter yesterday, Vilma Kublalsingh who sat with her son during the vigil outside the Office of the PM, said: “well she said the letter tugged at her heart strings…which I wanted to happen. But I really did not get any effective answer to the main issue, that is, finding a solution to the Re-route Movement and their desire to have the route moved. It does not suggest that she is going to do anything like that. She just sympathised with me and that’s it.”

On Monday, Vilma Kublalsingh said she told Persad-Bissessar: “the type of person (Kublalsingh) is, I did not want anything to happen to him and I am relying on her judgement to meet with him.”

And like Monday, when a number of persons met with him including Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan — whom he chased off with some choice expletives — Kublalsingh was again met yesterday by several persons as he sat and at times lay on a bench under a tent.

Among those paying Kublalsingh a visit yesterday was Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar whom Kublalsingh, while not cursing, warned the minister to, “leave me alone.”

Roman Catholic priest Fr Clyde Harvey prayed with Kublalsingh and later, former Minister in the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) government of th 1980s, Lincoln Myers — who himself led a hunger strike on the steps of the Hall of Justice, met with Kublalsingh.

Kublalsingh yesterday told reporters he plans to fast for 40 days to protest construction of the Debe to Mon Desir section of the San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway.

Kublalsingh, leader of the Highway Re-Route Movement, said he is dehydrated and weak but he alone will notify “my people” on when his vitals get extremely low. “I do not want anyone to tell me when the time has come, I will determine that. I don’t need any advice,” Kublalsingh said. He reiterated that he will not go into any ambulance provided by the government noting that his family had arranged a private ambulance to take him to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital if his condition deteriorates. Yesterday, two ambulances — one from a private company and the other, an EHS ambulance — were parked nearby. He yesterday also made an about turn saying that he no longer wants to meet with PM Persad- Bissessar but wants her to keep her promise and establish a committee to review the Debe to Mon Desir section of the highway project.

Just before leaving the protest site for the day, Kublalsingh told reporters he was advised that his health was a “little bit under risk” but he feels fine.

5 Responses to “I have a nation to run”


  • The interesting point here is that Kublalsingh has hired a private ambulance to monitor his health and if needed, rush him to hospital for treatment.
    How serious could he be about his cause? Is he really prepared to die for his cause? Is he looking for national attention?
    He should also examine the motives of some of his protest partners who see huge dollar signs for properties. I am surprised that such an educated man could be so stupid.

  • Kublalsingh must understand that this is billion dollar project with equipment already in the country of the express purpose of connecting the nation. The benefit in the years ahead will be tremendous for all concern, if the highway is not built now it will never be built.

    There are people whose history are intertwine with the land but really the protesters are those whose land will become part of the nation’s history. The value of my property will certainly increase over the course of time. I have land in the ares.

    One must admire Kublalsingh’s determination and let us hope that he stops this fast and work for the betterment of the long neglected once Opposition areas…

  • I think Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh should look at other possible approaches to challenge the way the government went about proposed of the billion-dollar Point Fortin to San Fernando Highway.

    I just want Wayne to know that at the end of the day the Mon Desir to Debe project will progress and the Prime Minister will still be alive, and he (Wayne)will not be around to witness the completion of this highway or to protest any future environmental problems in TT or globally.

    Wayne, I believe the people of TT appreciate what you are doing and have tremendous respect for you as a scholarlly leader and a person in general, we genuinely mean that.

    TT needs you WAYNE: But I want you to think about what your parents sacrificed many years of their time, and emptied their purse into your head to make sure you earned the best education possible to make a difference in this world.

    Make sure and drink water Wayne: You can live up to about 50 days without food but you can only live a few days without water.

  • “Persad-Bissessar said the insistence of the Highway Re-Route Movement to stop the development was not “tenable”, and she could not support Kublalsingh’s cause when hundreds of thousands of citizens of this country stood to benefit from the highway.”
    Just what can one say? Her critics might well be justified in knocking her for political opportunism, by making ‘much ado over nada ,’ just like Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher did ,during the labor strikes , or Falkland island debacles.
    I however prefer to give ‘Her Hajestick Queen K ,’ some props here.Let me add that there comes that pivotal moment when politicians must as a matter of duty, give in to the greater needs of the nation- and not necessarily party, self, constituents, and in this case the rabid tribe. I still get a belly pain form the stupid waste , and misguided zealots ,who pushed the mantra of “Houses before horses.”
    We know how dat ended for many poor desperate Caroni citizens- many of whom are still waddling in one room rickety rafters, in the mosquito creeks of Caroni,while awaiting some of the political spoils to get their own decent homes , ehhh Uncle Shah, and Papa BASDEO?
    I am almost certain that when this good doc visits Port of Spain in his expensive Lexus, or his wife’s BMW , or Benz, he like many hundreds of other Trini elites, take sadistic pleasure in driving down the once vilified Priority Bus Route- where thousands were once displaced during it’s initial construction.
    Ain’t it about time that these suspect intellectuals, closet politicians ,turn social activist, pick their causes,if as they claim the national interest is the end game / concern?I say yes.
    Want to really know what has led to environmental degrAdation in T&T Dr Wayne Kublalsingsh? I’ll tell you. A. Over dependence/ exploitation,of our underground , natural resources-a la on oil and gas. This in turn has affected our foods , waters, and eventually , the direct health of citizens.
    B.Over congested roads , cause by the fact that every Trini feels the need to own a car , due in part to substandard public transport, sub par infrastructures ,and a lack of foresight in alternative road construction were warranted- as in this case.
    C. Failure by respective neo tribal governments ,in La Trinity ,since 1956 to initiate a serious land reform policy, which would remove ‘poor ,kinky head folks,’ from off the ‘Brazilian like Favellas ,’they were forced to stay on, once slavery ended. Unfortunately, the victims of that failed policy , are those who live in the post Massa England flat areas, and this is vividly felt , each time our country experiences half inch of rain.
    Need we go on? We wish our people well, hmmmm?
    Having said all dat, let me add for your edification Dr O.M.A, one of my favorite quotes ,and it’s “something is good if it works,”yes? Luv Humanity!

  • Linda Edwards, class of '67

    So many party sycophants do not seem to understand that this man has chosen possible death rather thn live in the TT we have now cobbled together. From the PM onward, they are trying to downplay his convictions, and make a case for ofrce-feeding him. One silly columnist in the Guardian who often makes sense, but not this time, talks of arresting him for attempted suicide., in which case they will force a feeding tube into his throat and resuscitate him. Then I suppose he will continue his fast.

    e looks now more like a holy man of India rather than a healthy college professor in TnT. I continue to wish him well and as a Christian, would nt dare to try to understand the thoughts and emotions that have led him on this personal journey of self-mortification.

    The PM seems her same insensitive self, but she will don a sari, pull out a lotha , gather some marigolds and light a deya or two, when its politically expedient.

    Karma is a b****. Watch out.

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