Last update: 05-Dec-2013 12:18 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Now Kublalsingh sets up camp in Debe
Leader of the Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM) Dr Wayne Kublalsingh has set up a camp in Debe and is ready to “fight down to the wire” to prevent any highway roadwork that comes along. “We have a constitutional duty if we see bulldozers coming this way to protect ourselves because we believe this Debe to Mon Desir highway is an atrocity,” Kublalsingh told reporters yesterday as community members busily constructed a tent in a lot of land on Gopie Trace. When asked specifically why the tent was being set up at that location, Kublalsingh said it was to monitor the activities and to inform the residents about their rights in terms of land acquisition. Kublalsingh added the camp would also act as a prayer centre.
He said location was chosen because it was the point where road construction was expected to start. “It’s a corrupt mega-project, and we should defeat it and fight against it, and fight down to the wire, and stop it and abort it.” Kublalsingh said the community had a right to stand up and defend its lands, road and water systems, businesses, churches and temples. “All the proponents of this highway, we mean to scatter them, as they mean to scatter us.” He said the matter was in the court’s hands, but it was up to the Prime Minister to abide by the decision. “We have appealed to the law and we have appealed to the experts.” After a 21-day hunger strike last year outside Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s office, Kublalsingh’s group was promised that an independent review would be conducted, headed by Independent senator Dr James Armstrong. The result of that review was a report which showed negative effects of the construction of the Debe to Mon Desir section of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin, which is estimated to cost $7.2 billion.
Kublalsingh said the Armstrong report stated that there should be no work between Debe and Mon Desir, which included the Debe to Penal section he planned to occupy. Kublalsingh said he had two questions for the Prime Minister, “Are you going to abide by the Armstrong report? And are you going to await the decision of the court before you do any work between Debe and Mon Desir?” He addressed the Government directly saying: “Go and build the San Fernando to Point Fortin highway. That’s the highway that people want.”
Gopie Trace resident Ballyram Siew, 72, said the residents do not want the highway running through their area as over 300 houses would be affected by the construction.
“We don’t want that. We building a camp here to see they don’t come here. They just want to come by force and start grading.”
In an interview yesterday at Hill Crest Gardens, Retrench, Minister of Housing Roodal Moonilal said Kublalsingh was free to set up wherever he wanted and to advocate whatever he wanted. Last Friday, Moonilal told reporters the construction of the Debe to Mon Desir leg of the San Fernando to Point Fortin highway will not be stopped, despite Kublalsingh’s continued protest outside the Prime Minister’s Office.
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