PORT-OF-SPAIN: The Government of Trinidad & Tobago has appealed to Ravi Balgobin Maharaj, a supporter of the San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway, to end his hunger strike.
The appeal was made in a public statement on Sunday by Trade Minister, Vasant Bharath, following news that Maharaj collapsed four days into his hunger strike.
Maharaj, 29, started his protest in opposition to the hunger strike undertaken by environmental activist, Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh.
However, Maharaj collapsed on Sunday and was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.
“We have tremendous respect and regard for Ravi. As a young man, he is demonstrating great fortitude in standing by his principles and his belief that the Point Fortin Highway should continue. And it is an inspiration for us all in the government that he has undertaken his mission without overt attempts for media attention. This young man is being driven by incredible passion and we respect that.
“But even as we admire his passion in standing up for thousands of people who will benefit from the project, we simply do not want to see such a committed young man risk his future and his wellbeing,” said Bharath.
During his appeal to Maharaj, the minister seemed resigned that Dr. Kublalsingh would continue his hunger strike.
“We have made a similar appeal to Dr. Kublalsingh and while we accept that he is a grown man who has made a personal decision, we take with a great degree of seriousness the fact that Ravi has his entire life ahead of him, yet he is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater national good,” said Bharath. “I want to assure Ravi that the government is committed to doing everything within its power to ensure that the project proceeds to the benefit of many thousands of families.”
Last week, Kublalsingh who was admitted to hospital after suffering from a heat stroke, resumed his hunger strike outside the office of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to continue his protest over the construction of a segment of a multi-billion dollar highway in south Trinidad.