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Talks on Mon Desir to Debe highway today as residents take protest to PM
Activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh says the proposed Mon Desir to Debe segment of the Point Fortin highway is an “atrocity” and is “shameless.” He said 1,000 acres of agricultural lands and 300 homes will be destroyed. He and two other representatives are expected to meet with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar today at 3.30 pm at the Parliament, Waterfront Complex, Port-of-Spain. Kublalsingh said she was the last bastion of integrity in the Government and that her ministers were only playing the fool.
Yesterday, Kublalsingh and about 80 residents who form the Highway Re-Route Movement, took their concerns outside the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in St Clair. They said they were not leaving until they were given a date and time to meet with the PM.
Up to 2 pm they were yet to deliver a letter stating their request, and concerns for re-routing the highway. Around 4 pm, they managed to deliver the letter and were told about today’s meeting. Kublalsingh said between November 2010 and March this year, the movement had written about five letters to the PM but never got a response. The Cabinet also held its weekly meeting yesterday at the OPM. Kublalsingh told the media that Government also wanted to set up a chemical plant, CariSal, which he said would produce four chlorine-based projects in Point Lisas. He said: “We have come a long way because this struggle has been going on since 2005 with a highway which they want to pass across the Oropouche Lagoon, Mon Desir to Debe section. “It is an atrocity. It’s shameless.” The group said it wanted to present its proposal for re-routing the Mon Desir to Debe section of the Golconda to Mon Desir Highway, which was one of two parts of the new highway system proposed for the south-west peninsula.
Kublalsingh said: “After having made many, many attempts to meet with the Prime Minister, including going to her private residence, meeting with her key ministers, meeting with her key advisers, submitting letters, texting her advisers; we have got an unsatisfactory answer. “She has referred us to Mr (Jack) Warner and back to Dr (Roodal) Moonilal, whose positions we already know.” One resident, Vandana Boodhai, said she was being directly affected by the highway. She said 13 communities would be affected. “We are not against the Point Fortin highway. There are two highways going to Point Fortin. The first one we are completely happy with but it is the second one that is destroying 13 communities and we are begging the Prime Minister to please hear our plight.” The protesters sat on the pavement outside the OPM praying, showing their placards, and chanting from 10.45 am.
Sharma wants to meet
Fyzabad MP Chandresh Sharma who passed in his official vehicle around 1 pm came out and shook hands with Kublalsingh.
However, the protesters were not pleased to see him. Sharma told the media he was prepared to meet with the residents to resolve the issue. He said anything regarding State resources must be a priority. But as he spoke, the group intensified their chants, and hurled abuse at the minister. Kublalsingh later said: “Mr Sharma told me we should come and see him at his constituency office. What a shameless thing to say. Since 2005 we have written him at least five letters.” He said they did not want a meeting with him but the PM because she had to take responsibility for the destruction of the communities.
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