Public Policy versus Adult Chupidness

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
November 25, 2012

Dr. Kwame NantambuThis article seeks to conduct an Afri-centric analysis of the putative imbroglio that has engulfed the nation to the max.

At the outset, it must be stated that the crucial mistake that has been made is that the typical Euro-centric analysis of this issue has become the norm. Indeed, it must be pointed out that the Euro-centric analysis has only focused on the results/effects of this issue/problem, namely, the Re-Route Movement’s tents, clashes with law enforcement officers and government ministers and the life-threatening hunger strike by its leader Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh.

The salient reality is that either by accident or design, the crucial/vital variable that has been left out is the root cause of the government’s public policy decision. In this regard, this is precisely what this Afri-centric analysis will focus on.

Trinbagonians need to clearly understand that this democratically-elected government correctly utilized/invoked the Law of Eminent Domain to construct the highway. That’s it.

Truth Be Told: The term “eminent domain” came to the fore via the “legal treatise” of Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius in 1625. The Law of Eminent Domain empowers any government “to take private property for public use by a state, municipality or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property.”

Furthermore, “the property is taken for public or civic use or in some cases economic development. The most common uses of (private) property taken by eminent domain are for government buildings and other facilities, public utilities, highways and railroads”— emphasis on highways, period.

Trinbagonians need to clearly understand that the international law of eminent domain also “delegates eminent domain power to certain public and private companies(such as NIDCO)… only if its taking will be for a ‘public use'”.

And “the most common example(s) of a ‘public use’ is the taking of land (plus houses, businesses, churches, etc) to build or expand a public road or highway”— emphasis on highway.

The bottom-line is very simple, namely, the People’s Partnership government of T&T has broken absolutely no law, period. That’s it. Furthermore, the government did not get its authority/power from the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The government got its authority/power from the international law of eminent domain.

Ergo, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was perfectly and legally correct when she stated : “I have a duty to the nation”. The fact of the matter is that the law of eminent domain authorizes any Prime minister to execute public policy decisions in order to protect, defend and maximize the interests of the “public good” — any first year law student knows this.

In this regard, the general public should applaud Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for exhibiting maximum “fortified” leadership in her resolute, stern but compassionate “Mother to Mother” letter to Mrs. Vilma Kublalsingh to the extent that her son’s protest will not stop the construction of the highway. This represents leadership at the zenith of responsible government macro economic decision-making process— sans humanite.

Truth Be Told: Democracy serves to protect the rights of the majority while adult chupidness and narrow minded selfishness only seek to serve the interests of the minority— power to the people, not an individual; and that’s the way it is.

The fact of the matter is that public policy decisions must never be determined and/or compromised by individualistic, simplistic, altruistic emotionalism, sympathy and opportunism publicly displayed by disparate opposition entities.

Public policy decisions must always be formulated and implemented to maximize the “public good.” As such, the Prime Minister is perfectly correct not to meet with Dr. Kublalsingh. Her government’s decisions stands on perfect international law grounds and if she were to make that decision, then, she would be setting a very dangerous and intractable precedent.

If Dr. Kublalsingh as a grown man with a Ph.D. degree chooses to endanger his own life per a hunger strike, then, the onus is on him alone to explain his decision if and when he meets his creator. That’s not the responsibility of the PP government.

The fact of the matter is that the Minister of Communications has already put in the public domain that “These are the Facts” and that the government “has given them(Re-Route Movement opponents/activists) the chance to speak” and be heard— what’s the problem?

Facts do not lie—human beings do.

More power to the Prime Minister. She has stoically and professionally exemplified the “public use” in our democracy. She must never give in to the puerile attempt by any private citizen to undermine and obfuscate public policy decisions.

In the final analysis, the specifics of the international law of eminent domain legally give the power to the democratically elected government of Trinidad and Tobago to effectuate this vital multi-faceted economic development highway construction project. The multiplier effects are tremendous for all citizens in its way. In the long-run, everyone will benefit; do not let short-term myopia spoil our vision.

Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”) .

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

17 Responses to “Public Policy versus Adult Chupidness”


  • WELL SAID MY BROTHER. IT IS A MATTER OF TRIBALISM.

  • Congrats to you, Dr. Kwame. You have now joined the band of illiterates and political fanatics posing as concerned citizens of Trinidad & Tobago.
    Dr. Kublalsingh heads the Re-route Movement, not the “Stop the Highway Movement.” There are two main issues underlying his protests. Firstly, the displacement of residents from their homes, when an alternative route can be sought causing less hardships to our citizens. Secondly, there is a possibility that the present route is likely to cause even more hardships to more people in the future, as a result of floodings and erosion caused by the construction.
    Is that so difficult to comprehend? What is so unreasonable about asking for a review to ensure that the Highway is not a destructive “force?” What if this man is right?

  • Finally an article that reflects the views of the majority of Trinis. The media obsession with Kublalsingh and his antics are nothing but an expression of a few. Few however become the majority once the media gets involved. Over 70 percent of the nation support the building of the highway. It makes economic sense to liberalize your transportation system when you can before population growth outstripes infrastructure development. India for instances plans to spend $1 trillion in infrastructure development in the next 5 years. They will face enormous human challenges in this developmental plan. Nevertheless future generations will benefit from current pain. If the exercise in development is not done at an opportune time then it becomes more difficult to effect future change. Yes there is a human cost attached but the long term economic and social benefits far out way such cost.

  • Very well written article and exemplifies a public policy for the collective good. Every man (whether from UNIONS, Opposition party, political mischief makers etc.) that is supporting Dr.Kublalsingh have ulterior motives and individual agendas that are selfish and self-serving only to themselves. This highway was called for many years ago and if 2020 vision has to be acclaimed and achieved then we need to move away from the parochial mentality of a few to growth and development for all including infrastructure.

  • Trini, I continue to read the term “ulterior motives” in regard to Dr. Kublalsingh’s little episode. Exactly, what are the ulterior motives and individual agendas that can be achieved or fulfilled? You see I am not a glory seeker, so I dont get it. I see the statements as empty rhetoric.
    Then if that be the case, were the folks who surrounded him in his previous protests guilty of the same thing?

  • There is a misconception floating around that the PM has not submitted to the review of the highway route suggested by the recalcitrant university professor.The review committee simply agreed to the proposed route. Dr. Kublalsingh seems to think that he should decide who should be on that review committee. The government appoints committees of that that nature, not private citizens.
    This man is displaying questionable qualities in his quest for more recognition. He is no Mahatma Ghandi. Ghandi struggled to free an entire nation with the support of its citizens. Dr. Kublalsingh seems to be involved in some sort of personal aggrandizement measure.He invokes the names of great men in history who championed universal causes while he submits to IV drips on a nightly basis to sustain his life. He claims to hydrate by swimming every night.What nonsense!
    This man should take off his egotistical hat and realize that some who encourage him are only seeking more money for their properties and others, mainly politicans and union leaders, are seeking to resusitate their failing political fortunes.

  • Some people do answer their own questions unwittingly. Gloryseekers!

  • http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2012-11-28/they-afraid-kublalsingh-says-former-prime-minister

    Basdeo said , “Kublalsingh’s struggles and efforts are dignified and non-violent. Such struggles have been advocated by Gandhi and Jesus.” He contended that the People’s Partnership Government seemed afraid of Kublalsingh and his growing support. Panday noted: “People will embark on civil disobedience, not violence.”   OH AFROBUDDAHSUNGOD ,who resides in our hearts, and not de sky , have mercy on Trini Souls, as we absorb the pathetic ramblings of de European adoring, imperialist , pro tribal king himself in papa Panday!
    Seriously folks , is Basdeo still drinking the same Couva / Siparia / Oropuce illegal Babash/Bush rum , his  female UNC successor adores? Dr Wayne K ‘s efforts,are similar to that of Jesus , and Gandhi? What a sick joke Bas! By the way, if de tied tongue ,Queen Maker Jack , spends a day in jail for corruption, so should Panday the life time  political crook, yes?
    Was this not the neo tribal , nepotistic ,anti Afrikan bozo , who claimed that ‘politics has a morality all of it’s own, ‘ as he dragged his ‘wet behind the ears’ daughter Mikila,straight from London  law school,to run for a safe seat, over much more competent ?Was his daughters education not paid with stolen loot from the state coffers – ehhhh Basdeo? Enough with these selective country adorers. With fake patriotic citizens like these miscreants , who needs enemies folks- ehhhh Dr Kwame? 

  • Meanwhile the Opposition is attempting to stall a recycling bill which would introduce refunds for empties and permit the establishment of a recycling plant in T&T.
    They claim that some investor will benefit.
    Why do they think entrepreneurs go into business? To lose money..obviously profits are going to be the end result.
    Recycling in most developed countries are multi-million dollar businesses, creating massive employment and keeping bottles and recyclable waste out of the environment.
    It’s time for another hunger strike in support of this environmental bill.

  • Wayne secret wish is to become a Marytr for this cause. He feels by his death the government will stop the highway. Human sentiment is a limited thing in this day and age. One must admire Wayne’s determination. Speaking to his cousin a few days ago he said the Kublalsingh family is very stubborn. This stubborness is now in the public domain.

    If the Manning administration was in charge Wayne would have been thrown in jail a long time ago. He would have been standing before a judge seeking bail. The PP has chosen to wait and see what would be the natural end of this application of Gandhian discipline. The end will happen when Wayne decides to end this excercise in futility. For him it will take a little more persuasion to stop this, thankfully his sister is encouraging him to end the madness…..his mother should do the same. And perhaps his wife and children also, the ship has sailed Wayne the ship has sailed.

    • Mamoo, you wrote, “Wayne secret wish is to become a Martyr for this cause.” You continued, “If the Manning administration was in charge Wayne would have been thrown in jail a long time ago.”

      I dont think that you are psychic to know what is someone’s secret wish. And to say that about the Manning administration is bordering on propaganda. Which leads me to ask, what would you have accused the Manning administration of, if a Wayne Kublalsingh were thrown in jail?
      You are one of my respected bloggers, dont go there.

  • Not guilty
    By Suzanne Mills : Friday, November 30 2012
    It´s definitely risky business to take to task a man on a hunger strike, because even as you spill your personal thoughts on the question at hand, the protester might die and then you’d feel all guilty and probably wish you could take back your acerbic observations, which you can’t because they are in print. But in such reflection you realise that you are giving the activist exactly what he wants: you are assuming responsibility for his actions. A hunger strike is not just a protest; it is also a guilt trip: if the man dies it is someone else´s fault, but not his. Dr Wayne Kublalsingh´s mother openly called it as she sees it: if her son passed away blame and shame would fall on the prime minister.

    • Ms. Mills with all due respect we are talking about a 53 year old man. When he embarked on this fast he did it on his own accord. Blaming the Prime Minister for his demise is backward approach to journalism. The Prime Minister is the Prime Minister of the NATION, not the Prime Minister of just ONE single individual. The Prime Minister was born in the area where the road will pass, she has a historical connection to the area. She knows the people and understand the challenges. Kublalsingh just needed a cause to die for, the Smelter and now this. He would have find something else to die for.

      That is what a British education does for a person. I remember when my neighbour son went to Britan to study, four years later he return and everyone thought this guys was weired. He acted like he had just dropped out of a space ship, he knew everything and everybody else were just fools. Too much education can make a man mad my mother used to say, having a ton of degrees and NO common sense is dangerous.

      Kublalsingh will chart his own destiny but the media must behave like a mature public institution and not seek to blame the honorable Prime Minister.

      By the way where was this man when people were being kidnapped all over the nation??? Manning would have disposed of him in a heart beat, it only because the Prime Minister is an Indian woman (Jack Warner saying, lol) he behaving so.

  • It would help if some of the Government ministers hold their tongues in making disparaging pesonl remarks on Kublalsingh. They are only stoking the fire. However, it is amazing how reports are calling for the PM to compromise and show compassion. Why is there not a call for Kublalsingh to show some understanding as well? Refer to: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/South_business__all_for_the_highway-181484261.html and supporting a campus requires upgrading of infrastructure http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2012-11-30/chinese-get-5b-contract-build-penal-campus

    • I agree with you the media always take the side of the moron. Why? Because morons make news and sell newspapers. Nobody is asking the self proclaim environmentalist why he is abusing his frail body and why he should not stop this act of self deprecation. Instead the media has been turning Kublalsingh into a hero of some sorts. His family enjoys the notoriety and he seems to enjoy the attention of well wishers.

      Fact:Kublalsingh does not live in the area and therefore does not truly represent the area. Over 70 percent of the citizens in the area WANTS the highway. Where the highway route is passing East of oropuche lagoon the area has been abandon by the locals who would not go in the hot sun to plant rice. Beyond the Oropuche the land is heavily forested. Not much human settlement.

      The economic benefit of having the highway has been ignored by the Port of Spain base media outlets that do not have any idea of area. They do not understand the high traffic jams that exist in the area. Single lane traffic on the SSErin road has been a nightmare for citizens in the area. None of the aforementioned points make the headlines.Sadly

      • I have relatives who live in Port of Spain who have not been to the southern areas ot Trinidad for decades. I know others who never leave Port of Spain and are not familiar with the South or East or who lives there.Now that POS is no longer the center of their universe they are truly alarmed and disoriented by what they call the “coolies” from south.( and they are Indians)

  • Linda Edwards, class of '67

    When uneducated people(regardless of degrees) are losing the moral high road, they denigrate those who still stand on it and walk it.They try to get the rabble to break down the bridge across the river of enlightenment.
    Some of the Jews who feared Christ’s power mocked him saying:”If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down off the cross.” Just as Satan had sai to him: All of this I would give to you if you would fall down and worship me. What could Satan give to HE who already owned the Kingdom?

    I think of these things when I read the comments in the daily papers by people whose job it seems to be to Denigrate. They are denigrators. They pull everything down into the gutter in which they wallow. They cannot see anyting good for the slime in their eyes. In all of the great religions of the worl that we acknowlege, and among the First NAtions people of the Americas, fsting is a sacred tradition, a way of seeking clarity of purpose, a way of reemphasizing spirituality. I assume Dr. Kubllsingh is a Hindu as some of his supporters say they pray with him in temples and manirs. Dr. Kubllsingh is first and foremost a Trinbagonian, and in a land where diabetes is running rampant through the population, fasting is a good thing, both for health and spiritual reasons.It is a voluntary giving up, to serve a greater purpose.

    Those who mock his conscientious efforts, including that high holder of office now in the gunsights of the FBI, should know that the honest efforts of all good people find favour with God, and that Dr.Kublalsingh’s strength is also a moral strength. Those who mocked Christ, like those who mocked Ghandi, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Socrates and Mandela are confined to the dustbins of history.Their names forgotten.

    The high and mighty officials of the PP, with their little people given power, should be careful of mocking a man on a spiritual journey. His single stand , lie down rather, can generate enough power to move them from their apparently invincible heights. If you do not understand something, bless it, and walk on by. Do not stand in mockery.

    As children, we used to love dancing in the streets as the Muslims took their tajas to the Matapando River, until my mother, a devout Christian, put the fear of God in us by pointing out that those little castles they built, and threw away, must not be touched, not a mirror or a bead taken of. We learned to respect the rituals of all the people we grew up among. WE use to wonder what the Hindus buried on the river bank prior to a marriage, but NO ONE DARED TO GO DIG IT UP TO FIND OUT! It has been an invaluable lesson.If you cannot suport Dr. Kublalsingh, for whatever political reason, leave him to his fast, and go guzzle your food. Do not mock him, lest you choke.

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