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T&T: Police move hunger strike environmentalist

T&T: Police move hunger strike environmentalist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh (FP)

Mon, November 26, 2012 - 2:00 PM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Nov 26, CMC – Police officers lifted a frail Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh from the middle of a road near the office of Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar as the environmentalist Monday began his 12th day of a hunger strike to get the government to re-think its position on the construction of a multibillion dollar highway in the south of the island.

At least four police officers lifted the chair containing the 53-year-old University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer, who did not resist the action of the authorities.

The police had earlier Monday, closed the roads surrounding the Office of the Prime Minister near the outskirts of the capital for at least four hours and barricaded the building.

One senior police officer told reporters the action had been taken in order to protect the prime minister, but did say whether the action had followed a call by Kublalsingh on Sunday night for ordinary citizens to come to the capital and participate in the peaceful protest.

"You have a responsibility Trinidad and Tobago to help your people. Please do. That is why I am asking for you to come tomorrow (today), we will be sitting outside the Prime Minister's office. Whatever she says is insignificant, the important thing is that you stand up," he said in a video message.

Last Friday, government supporters staged a demonstration in support of the San Fernando-to-Point Fortin Highway south of here that Prime Minister Persad Bissessar said her administration had no plans of scrapping because of the actions of the environmentalist.

The four-party coalition government said “in any event, the Highway Re-route Movement has filed a case raising the very issues and these are now therefore the subject of judicial consideration by the High Court”.

“The matter is therefore now sub judice,” the government added.

Kublalsingh’s brother, Hayden, who has emerged as his main spokesman in recent days, criticised the government for seeking to prevent the protest on Monday, adding “the Prime Minister can’t hide behind public relations.

“She (Prime Minister Persad Bissessar) speaks about humanity and she refuses to allow a tent and some form of protection for a man who is in a very delicate manner,” he told reporters.

Kublalsingh was released from a private hospital over the weekend and insisted that he would continue his hunger strike, even as senior government ministers have taken to television talk shows to indicate that the matter had now become political.

Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan said that opposition figures, including Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley,  were now most present at the protest activities of Kublalsingh.

The United National Congress (UNC), the biggest partner in the four party coalition government, said it would be hosting a public consultation” on Monday night, as the government seeks to put its position across to the population.

 

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