PORT-OF-SPAIN: Environmental activist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh began an indefinite hunger strike last week outside the building housing the office of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to protest the construction of a segment of a multi-million dollar highway in Trinidad.
Dr. Kublalsingh, flanked by relatives and members of his Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM), said he would continue the hunger strike until he meets with Persad-Bissessar to discuss stopping the Debe to Mon Desir section of the Point Fortin Highway.
In 2012, Kublalsingh staged a 21-day hunger strike that ended after the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry and other civil society groups released the terms of reference for an independent review committee to examine several matters regarding the construction of the highway.
Kublalsingh has accused the government of reneging on a promise to abide by the Armstrong report that followed the review.
“It is about process, it is about accountability, it is about transparency, it is about corruption,” he said. “It is very unfortunate we have not had a sincere response from the government or the Prime Minister. But I have not given up on the Prime Minister. I think there is still room in her heart for movement and I will be sitting here every day until she agrees to meet with us so we could chart a way forward.”
The Office of the Prime Minister has issued a statement indicating that a letter sent by Kublalsingh requesting the meeting could not be entertained.
“It would not have been prudent for the Office of the Prime Minister to respond to Dr. Kublalsingh’s letter whilst the matter is before the Courts,” the statement said.
Kublalsingh was warned in the statement that he is embarking upon a hunger strike at his own peril.
“The State is prepared to abide by the law in this matter and will not be persuaded by the actions of a man who seeks sympathy and empathy from the population in support of the cause. Should the State adopt such a cause, it would lead only to anarchy and tyranny and compromise the rule of law and the democracy, which we as a people have grown to enjoy and protect,” the statement read.