PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Environmentalist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh Tuesday said he is prepared to end his 20-day old hunger strike over the construction of a highway in south Trinidad on certain conditions even as a prominent attorney called on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to have him arrested on a charge of attempted suicide.
"I am optimistic once there is a good outcome which accepts our submissions, we will end this act," Kublalsingh said.
The 53 year0old environmentalist and his Highway Re-route Movement (HRM) have been objecting to the construction of the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the TT$7.2 billion (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) highway linking San Fernando to Point Fortin in the south.
They contend that the construction would destroy the environment in the area as well as uproot many families that have resided on the lands there for many years.
On Monday night Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, speaking at a public meeting of the United National Congress (UNC), the biggest partner in the four-party coalition People’s Partnership government, called on the University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer to reconsider his hunger strike in light of the outcome of the meeting between Works Minister Emmanuel George and the Joint Consultative Council (JCC).
George said documents on the project would be made available to the JCC that had given an undertaking them and to produce a report within 60 days for consideration by the state-owned National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (NIDCO).
But in a statement, the HRM said while it is grateful to the various civil society organisations, the authorities must indicate clearly that “no construction work should begin in the Debe to Mon Desir highway including the interchanges whilst the committee meets”.
It also wants a cost benefit analysis report, a social impact assessment report and a hydrology report to form part of the terms of reference of the committee, adding if the committee does “not have the competence to undertake these reports they should be undertaken by competent bodies.
“The terms of reference should include the provision that oral and written submissions be made to the committee by the HRM as well as other members of the Mon Desir to Debe communities,” the HRM said, adding that it will end its action “once we have written confirmation that these requests are honoured in writing”.
Kublalsingh, who also read the HRM statement to reporters said that he is convinced that the meeting process between the groups would continue and he expects further communication on the final decision.
"We expect further outcome of this process before we terminate our action here," he said, wrapped in warm clothing as he continues his refusal to accept maintenance intravenous fluids until the matter is resolved.
"I expect within two to three days this action should be finished," he said, adding that he felt strong enough to survive till then.
Meanwhile, prominent criminal lawyer, Israel Khan has called on the DPP, Roger Gaspard to have the environmentalist arrested on attempted suicide charges.
“As a criminal attorney and a member of the Inner Bar I am calling on the Director of Public Prosecutions to immediately instruct the police to arrest Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh for the criminal offence of attempted suicide.
“I am also calling upon the DPP to have Kublalsingh’s wife, parents and siblings arrested and charged for aiding and abetting the common law offence of attempted suicide. It appears that Kublalsingh has a death wish and the DPP must not abdicate his responsibility by ignoring the commission of a criminal offence.”
Khan, who has already written Prime Minister Persad Bissessar urging her not to meet with Kublalsingh, said the environmentalist should be taken to a medical institution where he would be treated to save his life.