As small businesses struggle to clear their overseas debts, president of the Penal/Debe Chamber of Commerce, Shiva Roopnarine, is calling for more equity in the distribution of foreign exchange....
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Kublalsingh: We don’t want to meet PM
Dr Wayne Kublalsingh has not eaten a morsel of food, or tasted a drop of water in four days and it shows. His face is gaunt, eyes sunken and his voice is weak. His hands shake due to severe dehydration. But the environmental activist insists that even as he gets weaker, support for his cause is growing.
During a brief interview at Palms Club, San Fernando, yesterday, Kublalsingh said he will not give up his struggle to reroute the highway. “It’s my fourth day now, no water and no food, so I am getting dehydrated. I will last today but I think that something radical is going to happen to my body tomorrow,” he said.
More than 25 supporters from the Highway Reroute Movement accompanied Kublalsingh to the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) party congress. All the supporters, including members of Kublalsingh’s family, will picket outside the Prime Minister’s office at St Clair, this morning.
Asked whether his family supports his struggle, Kublalsingh said initially they were horrified when he told them of his intentions. “Originally they were not supportive but I told them that if they want to put pressure on anybody, then put pressure on the Government. Don’t put pressure on me, put pressure on the Prime Minister,” he said.
Kublalsingh said he doesn’t know how his son, who is studying law, feels about his hunger strike. “I don’t know how my son is taking this but I want everybody to know that this action has to be done, whatever the consequences.” Kublalsingh, who holds a BA, M Phil (University of the West Indies); MA (Columbia University, New York) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Oxford University), said he will fight the highway construction with his last breath.
“We wrote to the Prime Minister, she is our leader. I was sitting two feet from her and she promised to do a review. She promised to put this on hold. We don’t want to meet with her. We want her to commit to the undertaking she promised which is that she will set up an independent committee to review and put on hold the project that will devastate 13 communities.
We want her to have all the technical experts look at the project and get an independent scientific review of it. That is all we want, a commitment from her to review this project,” Kublalsingh said.
He said the Prime Minister must honour her obligation to the people. “I will not relent in my fasting and hunger strike until we get some word from her that she will treat with this matter,” he added. Kublalsingh said his decision to embark on a hunger strike came after a lot of thought.
“The people of Debe to Mon Desir are very tired and they too are exhausted. I have to help them—this is my last step.” Kublalsingh called on the public to defend more than 300 families displaced by the dust of the highway. “They have suffered long enough. We need the support of everybody, the political parties, the trade unions, to come and help our people. This is my way of bringing attention to this struggle,” he said.