Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest commentary: Perhaps "re-routers" should present scientific study to GORTT - by Robin Montano

The Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh/Re-route movement matter continues to dominate the news headlines. 

It is probably fair to say that despite the rhetoric on both sides of the issue (which is getting rather extreme) that nobody wants Dr. Kublalsingh to die and that most people would like to find some middle ground or solution that effectively allows both sides to save some face. 

After all, Dr. Kublalsingh's point (after stripping away all the 'ole talk' and threats to kill himself) is that the Mon Desir/Debe section of the highway is damaging to the environment. There is nothing wrong with a man taking this point (unless, of course, it is not true).

Allegations have been flying fast and furiously as to whether or not this central point is correct or not. The "Re-routers" claim that the Government study is a farce and not worth the paper that it is written on. 

Dr. Kublalsingh himself seems (as reported in the newspapers) to have changed his demands from requiring a meeting with the Prime Minister, then not requiring one but instead requiring a commitment from her to appoint a committee approved by the "Re-routers" to look again at the environmental issues. (The reporting in the newspapers is not as clear or as balanced as one might hope for ... but, hey! We've got to work with what we've got). The Government's position is clear: their reports show that the claims are groundless and so the highway goes forward.

And then we have all the opponents of the Government crawling out of the woodwork seeking to bask in the "reflected glory" of Dr. Kublalsingh's fast. The fact that some of these people were nowhere near Dr. Kublalsingh's protest against the aluminium smelter is forgotten and seemingly irrelevant. What is important is here is yet another stick to beat the Government with! (Nobody ever said that Life in the Tropics was dull!!) But none of these people seem to want to help find a solution. One gets the (rather unkind) impression that they would actually like Dr. Kublalsingh to die so that they could beat the Government with an even bigger stick!

My view on the whole imbroglio is as set out in my last post on this subject. Nothing has happened to persuade me to change my mind. What I would like to discuss now is a possible way forward.

The "Re-routers" (and, please, I use the term in a purely descriptive sense ... just in case somebody wants to take issue with it) are making a claim which, if true, ought to be taken seriously. Further, they say that the Government's study is flawed. Well, perhaps a way out might be for them (the "Re-routers") to present to us ... the general public ... their own study on the problem listing the experts that they have relied on and their qualifications. This way we could all see whether or not they really do have a point.

In a court room "he who alleges must prove". Okay! I know we aren't exactly in court, but do we have to be? I consider myself a fairly well informed person, but I don't have any recollection of the "Re-routers" providing scientific and documented reports to prove their case. If they have, maybe they could/would provide it again.? 

I can't believe that if a clear, cogent and scientific argument is made for all to see that the Government would not listen to it. But all that I have seen so far is a lot of blinding emotion. Frankly, I do not blame the Government for not giving in to the emotional arguments even though I readily concede that cool, clear reasoning will never defeat blinding emotion!

By the way, I am not interested in whether Dr. Kublalsingh is "cheating" on his fast (although I will confess that if he is in any way that this would affect his credibility and would therefore lead naturally to other matters that I prefer not to discuss at this time). 

What I am interested in is finding a way forward. Both sides are digging in and nothing less than "all out victory" would seem to suffice. Both sides have a lot to lose from a defeat. 

Let's try and turn the rhetoric away from winners and losers and try and discuss this matter in an intelligent and civilised manner. Because at the end of the day, Trinidad & Tobago will win if the right decision is made and Trinidad & Tobago will lose if the wrong decision goes through. We are all in this together. 'War! War!' is not the answer. Let's try a little 'Jaw!Jaw!'

Read more of Robin's writings at THE RAG

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai