A series of articles by Trevor Sudama on the Debe Mon Desir highway re-route

Trevor SudamaUNC Member of Parliament and cabinet minister, Trevor Sudama. The articles are cut and pasted from a posting by Alyssa Rostant on the FaceBook page UNDERSTAND DR. KUBLALSINGH FIGHTING FOR TRINIDAD TOBAGO PEOPLE. These articles were originally published in the Express newspaper.

RE-ROUTE REVISITED (PART 1)

I have decided to revert for a few columns to the issue of the construction of the Highway from San Fernando to Point Fortin because the full facts and the myriad negative consequences of this project are not known to all sectors of the national community of which every member will be affected and therefore should each be an interested stake holder. This is certainly not a minor localized matter as the PP Government would have the country believe.

Rational discourse has been submerged in a deluge of propaganda, emotional appeals, false claims and illusory benefits propounded by the Government. It should be borne in mind that rational arguments seldom hold final sway in governmental decisions. What is critical is the clout of vested interests, the ego and obsession of key Government ministers and the anticipated positive electoral outcomes.

Full Article : workersunion.org.tt

14 Responses to “A series of articles by Trevor Sudama on the Debe Mon Desir highway re-route”


  • In or out?

    Newsday Editorial
    Saturday, December 1 2012

    People’s National Movement Chairman Franklyn Khan has hit the nail on the head: the time has come for the Congress of the People to decide once and for all, whether it is in or out of this coalition government. The COP cannot continue, as Mr Khan has rightly pointed out, to relentlessly oppose the policies and practices of the People’s Partnership, yet seek to remain a member of that alliance. It is simply untenable for the COP to function simultaneously as both Opposition and Government, to constantly abandon the accepted Westminster principle of collective responsibility, which demands that they publicly support government’s position even though they may not agree with it privately.

    The twixt and tween of the COP and its continuous public statements which conflict with government’s, are creating confusion in the minds of the electorate and threaten to destabilise the government. The to and fro is causing such political chaos that it is also splitting the COP: some of its MPs march in unison while others are out of step. The Wayne Kublalsingh hunger strike has placed the COP at loggerheads with itself and with its partners in administration.

    It is certainly completely unprecedented and undermining for a senior Cabinet minister to publicly rebel against his government and dispatch a press release which is in stark contrast to his Prime Minister’s and cabinet’s position, not unless he intends to resign his post or wishes to be fired. For a Minister of Foreign Affairs on official business abroad to act in this was is amazing. Minister Winston Dookeran’s plea for compassion for Wayne Kublalsingh is a direct challenge to the Prime Minister’s stated position. By being abroad, he may have been out of the policy loop, as the Prime Minister suggested in a politically clever rebuttal, but prudence and respect for his Prime Minister dictated that he make no public declaration on the matter until he was briefed, lest he be at cross purposes with his leader, the Cabinet and the parliamentary caucus.

    If Mr Dookeran disagreed with Government’s handling of the Wayne Kublalsingh hunger strike, he should have raised his concerns privately with the Prime Minister. Instead of circumspection, he engaged in what can only be seen as rebellion, going as far as to state that government’s policy lacked compassion and would make Trinidad and Tobago appear decadent and uncaring in the eyes of the international community. Such a remark is tantamount to labelling the government as decadent and uncaring. How can a Foreign Minister pretend to continue to be part of a regime which he has so disparaged and defied?

    Mr Dookeran may argue that he was moved by international reports to issue a statement seeped in sentimentality for a man seeking to hold his government to ransom, but we do not and cannot agree with Mr Dookeran’s assertions that a BBC report is grounds sufficient for government to reverse its position on the highway.

    The BBC is not running Trinidad and Tobago. More to the point, Britain is no stranger to hunger strikes and its treatment of protesters has often come in for heavy criticism.

    Suffragettes who went on hunger strikes were subjected to force feeding, nowadays considered inhumane. Three women died as a result of that force feeding. IRA prisoners have repeatedly used hunger strikes to protest British policy and prison conditions and several have perished for their cause.

    Mr Kublalsingh is not a political prisoner, nor is he being ill-treated by an uncaring decadent government. The Prime Minister has met with Mr Kublalsingh and the Highway Re-Route movement and a study addressed their concerns. They have refused to accept its findings. Dr Kublalsingh is the one who decided to starve himself. We believe that it is unreasonable for the COP, (or some of its members) to insist she hold further conversations with Mr Kublalsingh, or soften her stance, particularly since Mr Kublalsingh and the Re Route group have taken the matter to court.

    Mr Dookeran fired his salvo from Santo Domingo and its mark was the Prime Minister. The ball is now in the court of Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar. This is a bold attack from within the ranks. Can and should she tolerate such open rebellion? Can she afford to fire another minister so soon after her dismissal of Herbert Volney? We believe that Mr Dookeran´s statement has left Mrs Persad-Bissessar with little choice but to excise him from her Cabinet.

    Mr Dookeran is of course entitled to his opinion and he may well be right but he can’t have it both ways. It displays incredible weakness. If he disagrees with the policy of the Government, of which he is the Foreign Minister the honourable thing to do is to resign and leave the “uncaring, decadent Government.”

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/editorial/0,169975.html

  • Dookeran heart was in the right place, Wayne is a compassionate, highly spiritual but misguided soul. Everyone sees the elephant in the room differently. The man who is the nearest sees it differently from the man who is the furthest. Dookeran in Santo Domingo is the furthest and therefore will see the elephant with philosophical and telescopic vision, so his speech will reflect his distance. The man who has to commute a total of 10 extra hours per week is near the elephant and therefore would smell the dung and understand the behaviour of the elephant better. His desire is simply that the elephant should go away and make room for progress. His reasoning is quite clear and not clouded by distance and philosophy.

    When Dookeran was kicked out of the UNC by Bas he felt betrayed, his response was to form COP. His own political elephant forced his hand to act in a manner that was COMPATABLE to his convictions. When the PM stands for the over 70 percent who support the removal of the elephant and the pathway for progress she was doing what her position demanded of her. She was not advocating for the possession of Wayne land (he has none there)she was simply trying to end the endless hours of commute and set in motion the ground work for economic progress. Progress that would be the blessing of the nations for generations to come (should the earth last that long).

    The highway would end hours of commuting time for those in the south land, reduce thousands of tons of greenhouse gases and save the environment. Where it took 2 hours to commute it will take only 30 minutes. Plus it would restore family time. Wayne only sees the elephant droppings and it sends him in a tizzy, confusion sets in he behaves like a spoilt child whose anxious heart is to see the elephant droppings. But the time has come to get rid of the elephant and if Wayne loves the elephant he sadly must go to…

    • stupideeeee !! dooks asking the boss lady to show ‘compassion’ all human beings suppose to have and show that emotion especially the leader of the country.in order to show compassion one must be able to show love .and ah not talking bout the love she show only to jack ah talking bout d love for the nation ,the love for every creed and race,d unniversial love which would of made her not only the pm of t&t but the prime minsiter of the world..try to remove the elephant in your head it causing your brains to be stagnant…

      • What about compassion for the people in the area where the highway is passing? For 40 years nobody show them any compassion. They had to commute for long hours in heavy traffic every day. Now Kublalsingh stop work on the highway for 60 days, creating in effect a waste of money and a delay in completing the highway. At a time when the weather would be right and good progress can be made. Kublalsingh is a drama teacher not an environmentalist, he used drama to mesmerize people like you. He does not live in area, he does not understand the area, by building the highway commute time will be reduced considerably cutting carbon emissions and saving the environment. The economic benefits will be enormous for now and future generations. It is call progress something that some people don’t understand. I am sure Kublalsingh would not have been given the time of the day if Manning was P.M.

        • Oh yes, Mamboo, these one time squatters , deserve the same consideration that was given to others de la kinky head nation ,locked across the by ways of de East west corridors.
          Enough already ! As a promise for authentic post PNM changes , it is time for ‘Her Majestick Queen K ‘, to quit appeasing those male women haters in her party, halt continual pandering to destructive civic leaders, and DESPERATE political financial head cases who conveniently supported her power rush, to finally make land reform de priority as a matter of policy , along with equitable distribution of all our natural resources- irrespective of one’s tribe!

        • Mamoo. Gandhi, did not get compassion from the British instead the imprisoned him, killed some who stood up with him. The out come is history !!

  • Mr Sudama wrote an awesome article..finally somoen who is actually making sense..as oppose to all the individuals supporting this fool kublalsingh..if we was truly on a hunger strike he would not be taking drips..he and all is followers are just trying to fool/con people. Con men come in all different ways.

  • Kublalsingh is using intimidation,bullying and blackmail to stubbornly get his way.
    He has already filed a court case against the highway.Let the court rule on the legality of this highway .
    He has cussed out Dr. Khan, a representative of the Prime Minister.
    He is demanding a review of a newly appointed technical committe.What will be his next move if a committee is appointed by the government and it rules that the construction should proceed? Does he also realize that the government could easily shelve any report created by this technical committe?
    It is ridiculous to assert that he should not be criticized based on the false assumption that he is some special spiritual human being. How do you justify his nasty, uncivilized treatment of Dr. Khan? How do you justify his stalking of the Prime Minister, even at her private residence?
    Those who compare him to Jesus, Ghandi, Luther King and Mandela should revisit their sources of history and realize that they are dealing woth an ego gone mad.

  • Mr. Kublalsingh has a right to express his opinion but does he have a right to stop the progress for infrastructure in his country. All over the world highways are built and this unfortunately is one of the setbacks but can you not deny that this is progress. Mr. Dookeeran has seen it fit to use this issue to gain political mileage for the COP. In any other country he would have been dismissed immediately, as a Minister of Foreign Affairs making representation for a Government, he sees it fit to make such an irresponsible statement. The COP can go it alone if they want to but do the honourable thing and resign, do not stay in a Government and act as as the opposition. Come on Winston, resign and have some compassion on your other COP members who are torn between.

  • Sometimes the battle from within is the most difficult as the Prime Minister disclosed in a recent speech. The political cabal can cause much distress. Robinson face this dilemma saying “hugs and kisses by day, stabs at night”. He was referring to Bas whose concept of party line must be defined by him rather than the leader. When a leader faces internal adversity and public rebuke they have to find a way to navigate “crab in the barrel” politics. It is obvious genius to hold fragile egos together in the face of such public condemnation. Panday’s response to Ralph Maraj was “if you want to leave, leave”. He left and took Sudama and Ramesh. Manning’s approach to dealing with internal rumblings was to publicly chastise Rowley in his “raging bull” speech. It became the most famous speech of all time, because it exposed the heart of an elected Prime Minister in a very public way.

    The current Prime Minister have to walk a political tight rope speaking in nuances rather than using a direct approach. Jesus understood human nature and communicated in parables. The COP has placed itself as the conscience of the nation and therefore wants to be consulted on moral issues with it’s “dialog approach”. There is however a time for talking and a time for acting. Caroline instead of doing her job wanted to tell the leader of the PP how to lead on the Kublalsingh issue, something that should have been done in private, out of respect for the leader. Nevertheless it is instructive that the leader of the COP has not poured more kerosene on the fire and that is good for the COP. Anyways there is media driven obsession with politics and high drama, now that crime is off the front page. We all know media people have to eat too.

  • “Dr Gabriela Hosein, lecturer at UWI’s Gender Studies department, says the situation with Dr Wayne Kublalsingh’s hunger strike is no longer a question of face saving, but the Prime Minister should seize the opportunity and act in order to save his life.”

    Dr. Kublalsingh death would be a suicide. I would however like to see him taken from in front of the P.M. Office and taken to St.Anns to be psychologically evaluated. His behaviour has become erratic and too focus on one issue. The Prime Minister cannot submit to the demands of one individual and ignore the majority. I had always believe that he had a death wish and it did not matter the cause he would have wanted it to end this way. And so we await the final end of a man who could not stop.

    The media must not lay blame at the feet of the Prime Minister because Dr.Kublalsingh is making his own choice as an adult.

  • “He also called on citizens to come out on the streets to demand accountability and transparency against “massive fraud” by the Government.”
    When the PP assume power the cry was they are doing nothing to stimulate the economy. Now that development is occurring under the astute leadership of the current PM all kinds of labels are emerging. Accountability and transparency –the current administration is without doubt accountable and transparent unlike the previous one that saw virtually every project with cost over run to the tune of nearly $4 billion. Where was this mad doctor then, why was he not on a hunger strike back then?

    The south has been ignore for 40 years of nationhood. Finally some kind of revenue is being invested and suddenly all these charges are emerging. What has Dr.Kublalsingh done for Trinidad? Except be a drama teacher at UWI. It is time he stop this nonesence…..he should be arrested and charged this spectacle must end.

  • During Manning’s reign we had specific examples of financial wrongdoings with evidence and examples to support the accusations,many of which are now being investigated and prosecuted.
    Today the Opposition forces are casting wild accusations related to the highway construction but cannot cite a single specifc case of fraud. Surely contractors are going to make profits from this project, but since when have profits become a bad thing. Entrepreneurs go into business to make money, plain and simple.They are not social workers.Rowley is misreading the public once again. The rumblings against this coalition are coming mainly from those who did not vote for the coalition in the first place.
    Trinis equate post secondary education with brilliance and “respect”. In Kublalsingh’s case it should be equated with madness….psychiatric evaluation required.

  • I too can recklessly assert dat “Trinis equate living abroad , in Eurocentric countries such as Canada , with brilliance and “respect”. In TMan’s ’s case it should be equated with madness….psychiatric evaluation required.”
    Give it a rest TMan , and leave the good Doctor alone, as he recuperate from his taxing protest action. Democracy can be ugly at times , and forces Politicians and their followers ,in directions they do not wish to go, be it Dr Kublasing, ex social affairs Minister Verna St Rose , in her quest to make Her Majestick Queen K address incest/ similar forms of child abuses ,rampant male orchestrated suicides in unmentionable quarters of T&T , or RECENTLY ,disgruntled Beetham/Lavantille under employed folks, prepared to push back in whatever means necessary.
    In the case of the former , I might not agree with the present re rout situation ,as advocated by him , for the mostly former Point Fortin Squatters , but applaud his efforts , as well as well as firm convictions , so much so that he can put his life on the line – when it is no longer popular.
    I understand the embarrassment he had caused to some ,by choosing to not only protest de PNM government’s policies where he deemed it necessary , but the fact that he had de audacity to try and hold Her Majestick Queen K, and her government’s hands to de symbolic fire, via these draconian , Gandhilike operations- but that again is politics.
    As for Auntie V, just think what we can have achieved , and or prevented if she was allowed to address some of de taboo social issues that has historically afflicted segment of our Trini , economically depraved , lower caste communities .
    These former West point trained guys can be difficult T-Man, but don’t take my word for it . Just ask Uncle Shah, if you doubt me.

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