|Mike not from Greenpeace |
By JULIEN NEAVES Friday, May 23 2014
IN RESPONSE to queries about his affiliation with international organisation Greenpeace, activist Mike Singh has confirmed that he is not an employee of the organisation despite describing himself as a “Greenpeace activist”.
Singh, who resides in India, arrived in the country via a trip funded by the Oil Field Workers Trade Union (OWTU), headed by President General Ancel Roget, to carry out a study into effects of the Petrotrin oil spills last December. He was invited by local environmental activist, Judith de Verteuil, who told Newsday she has correspondence via the internet with Greenpeace.
He told Newsday yesterday: “At no point in time did I say that I was working for Greenpeace. At no point in time did I profess I represent Greenpeace. I said I am here in my capacity as a Greenpeace activist to meet with residents, and affected persons and to see firsthand for myself the carnage of the oil spill, to meet with the Highway Re-Route Movement and see what their problems are, with the goal of compiling a dossier to send to Greenpeace. If Greenpeace chooses to act on it, it’s neither here nor there, but I wanted to bring this to world attention,” he added.
Ravi Maharaj, a citizen acting in his private capacity, contacted Greenpeace via e-mail and reported that Singh was purporting to be an activist with the organisation but “bore no formal identification or documentation of his Greenpeace status, and attempted searches online to verify his activism with your organisation were futile”.
Greenpeace in response stated: “We’ve checked our records and Mike Singh is not, and never has been, a Greenpeace employee, and does not represent Greenpeace in any capacity. Greenpeace does not have a representative in Trinidad. Greenpeace has limited resources, and cannot be everywhere crimes against the environment are committed”.
Maharaj told Newsday that Singh has “misrepresented himself” and it showed the lengths those who had brought him to the country would go.
Newsday made a similar query to Greenpeace, including a photo of Singh for verification, and received an almost identical response from Greenpeace International head of news, Susan Cavanaugh.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, speaking during the post-Cabinet media conference yesterday, also queried Singh’s credentials and read the contents of Maharaj’s e-mail, which had been circulating.
“And therefore I call on the OWTU, and I call on Mr Ancel Roget on the eve of this grand march that is being planned for today, and I expect Mr Mike Singh will be at the centre of the march since he is clearly in some advisory capacity to the OWTU, I call on them to clear the air in the public interest in this matter, where you may have a situation where misrepresentation is taking place,” he said.
Roget responded to the correspondence from Greenpeace yesterday morning while speaking with the media at the Queen’s Park Savannah, following a meeting with President Anthony Carmona.
He said that the union vetted Singh “and we are satisfied in terms of his prior engagements on behalf of that international organisation”. He described the questions of his credentials as a “UNC sycophant” claim and “mischief”, and their information was that he was operating on behalf of Greenpeace.
Singh told Newsday via telephone that he had correspondence between himself and Greenpeace International, including with Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, and this would be presented at a media conference today.
He reiterated that he is not a Greenpeace employee but “in my rights and capacity as an activist working to increase public attention to the problem here, and that includes Greenpeace, and I have informed them”. On the e-mail response from Greenpeace to Maharaj and Newsday, Singh said that the response is a “general e-mail” and the persons responding are “not necessarily privy to strategic communication at the senior level of the executive management of Greenpeace and myself”.