Kublalsingh sets up camp in Penal
By Richardson Dhalai Monday, August 19 2013
UNDAUNTED and refusing to give up, environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh and members of his Highway Reroute Movement yesterday set up camp in Penal to “oversee” construction work on the Debe to Mon Desir portion of the Point Fortin highway.
He said recommendations in the Dr James Armstrong report on the Debe to Mon Desir portion of the highway advised against the start of works along the Debe to Penal highway segment.
Under an overcast sky with a steady drizzle of rain, a small group of activists cleared a small plot of land along Gopie Trace, Penal, and constructed a make- shift camp, similar to that which had been demolished just over a year ago by former National Security Minister Jack Warner.
The demolished tent was located on the M2 Ring Road. It was taken down by the Defence Force and police on June 27, 2012.
Kublalsingh had been arrested and later released and sometime after he embarked on a hunger-strike outside the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, to protest the construction of the Debe to Mon Desir portion of the Point Fortin highway.
Kublalsingh told reporters yesterday the new camp will serve a three-fold purpose, which would be to monitor the State’s activities; to serve as a meeting place where residents would be informed about their rights regarding land acquisition and compensation and as a prayer centre.
“We are building this tent for several reasons, one to monitor the state’s activity in the event they start grading works here and secondly we are to inform the people. Mr (Ramesh Lawrence) Maharaj will come and inform people about their rights in terms of land acquisition and compensation,” Kublalsingh said.
“And thirdly we want to build a prayer place, a prayer centre for people, a prayer centre which was destroyed by the last Minister of Works about one year ago,” he added.
Kublalsingh said the group met with NIDCO officials almost three weeks ago and had been informed that construction works along the Debe to Penal highway segment would be started later in the year.
“They told us they starting work between Debe and Penal very shortly and they had put a bulldozer across there. They have now removed it and they said they are coming back in the next week. They have already laid some culverts for crossing to start grading works to build a road between here and the Debe intersection, so that’s why we are here, we are just at the beginning of where they want to start works between Debe and Penal,” he said
Kublalsingh said the Debe to Penal portion of the highway was addressed in the Armstrong report.
“Absolutely, the Armstrong report is saying do not do any work between Debe and Mon Desir, which includes the Debe to Penal section, until they do the relevant studies.”
He once again called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to say whether she was “going to abide by the Armstrong report and await the decision of the court before doing any work between Debe and Mon Desir.”
“We have a constitutional duty, if we see bulldozers coming this way, to protect ourselves from the bulldozer because we believe that this Debe to Mon Desir highway is an atrocity... a corrupt mega project and we should defeat it and fight against it,” Kublalsingh added.