PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday December 3, 2012 – Head of the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) Afra Raymond Monday called on environmentalist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh to end his hunger strike after the group said it had reached agreement with government on some of the issues regarding the construction of the multi-billion dollar highway in south Trinidad.
Works Minister Emmanuel George, who met with the JCC and other non-government bodies seeking a resolution to the impasse over the construction of the highway, said “the National Infrastructure Development Company Limited undertook to make available to the JCC all the relevant documentation in its possession on the project in respect of the Debe to Mont Desir segement of the highway.
He said that the JCC had given an undertaking to “examine all the documentation on the project provided by NIDCO and all other relevant documentation and to produce a report within 60 days from today’s date for NIDCO for its consideration and publication thereafter”.
In addition, George said there had been agreement that “work would continue on the site of the highway”.
Raymond told reporters that he is satisfied with the outcome of the discussions on Monday and that the Kamla Persad Bissessar government has put into effect the proposals submitted by the grouping.
“It was a very challenging discussion. It is necessary for the resolution of this impasse in the interest of restoring public trust.
“I am satisfied and my colleagues are satisfied that the agreement we have reached with the government in this matter is an agreement that contains the best parts of the proposals we put a few days ago to the Prime Minister.
“They were tough negotiations but we have been able to get those agreements signed on by the JOCC, our colleagues at FITUN (Federation of Independent Trade Union), the three ministers of Cabinet who were here with us and Dr. Carson Charles of NIDCO”.
Raymond said he is now hoping that Kublalsingh would end his hunger strike, that entered its 19th day on Monday outside the Office of the Prime Minister.
“Among the outcomes we are hoping for in this situation, one of them of course is that Dr. Kublalsingh will give serious consideration to ending that hunger strike , that fasting..and for his colleagues in the Highway Re-route Movement (HRM) to direct some of their documents and concerns to the working group that we are going to be setting up under the chairmanship of (independent legislator) Dr. James Armstrong”.
Meanwhile, Kublalsingh, 53, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Monday told reporters he was now prepared to heighten his hunger strike to force the government to reconsider the construction of the disputed phase of the 7.2 billion (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) project.
He told reporters he was “prepared to die” adding “this is an important matter, my body is not necessarily important to this matter, I think the purity of Trinidad and Tobago is more important,” he added.