PORT-OF-SPAIN: Environmental activist, Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh, will re-appear in court on December 4 to answer three charges arising from his attempt to block the construction of the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the TT$7.2 billion (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) highway linking San Fernando to Point Fortin in the south of Trinidad.
Dr. Kublalsingh, a former University of the West Indies lecturer, appeared before Magistrate Taramatie Ramdass at the Siparia Court last week, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty.
Kublalsingh, who had earlier been placed on TT$10,000 bail, told reporters he and his Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM) would continue to monitor the area for any resumption of work.
“We assemble and we walk towards the tractor and we speak to drivers,” he said. “So far this has worked. Yesterday, it didn’t work that well and the tractor was able to get through. But we speak to the drivers and so far tractor drivers have been very attentive to us; more attentive in fact than two-and-a-half years of prime ministerial listening.”
Last year, Kublalsingh ended a 21-day hunger strike after civil society groups, including the Joint Consultative Council, mediated between the government and the Re-Route Movement resulting in the establishment of an independent review committee, headed by former Independent senator, Dr. James Armstrong.
The HRM is now claiming that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has gone back on her word by saying recently that she did not know whether she or the State would abide by the Armstrong report, which in its recommendations notes that the Debe to Mon Desir segment be held up until more social, economic and environmental impact assessments are completed.
Last week, Persad-Bissessar said she cannot recall ever giving her word to accept the findings of the report.