Friday, November 23, 2012

PM Kamla tells media Kublalsingh doesn't want to meet her, reiterates that she cannot favour one group

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said on Thursday she is not unwilling to meet Wayne Kublalsingh but noted that the leader of the Highway Reroute Movement does not want to meet with her.

She made the point in an address at a Christmas luncheon at the Diplomatic Centre in an effort to clarify her position.
Wayne Kublalsingh at his "hunger strike" camp
"Many have asked me to visit him and I wish to clarify this once again. Wayne Kublalsingh insists that he does not wish to see me, his demands are for a technical review committee to evaluate the Solomon Hochoy Extension project and that while this committee is being established that the roadwork be halted. 

"In fact, Wayne has made it clear on more than one occasion and continues to do so today that he has no desire to see me. His inappropriate and aggressive rejection of the Minister of Health and others whom the government sent in his interest is consistent with this stance. So the failure to meet with him is not of my own making but of Wayne’s refusal."

She also said it is not true that she reneged on a promise made to Kublalsingh. "After meeting with Wayne and his group I promised and did suspend the work on the Mondesir portion of the highway project pending deliberations and the review of a technical committee which was appointed," she said. 

"The Highway Reroute Movement walked out of several meetings with the Minister of Works and the technical team. And when finally a report was made on the evaluation that included compromises based upon the group’s views, the results were again rejected by the Highway Reroute Movement. 

"At this stage we simply could not give into the demands of Wayne Kublalsingh and his group to stop a project that would benefit hundreds of thousands of citizens for generations to come. Further I am advised that any halting of the project could see the government being sued by the contractors who have contractual obligations to meet," Persad-Bissessar stated.

"Wayne’s view is that the project is a bad one and must be stopped at all costs. His demand is not to meet me. So as Prime Minister what am I expected to do? Simply give into his demands to protect his life and give up the livelihood and future of hundreds of thousands of others who want the development but choose not to protest in that fashion in favour of it? 

"I am not above meeting with Wayne, I have already done so and would do so again but that is not what is being asked of me. So I have done what any caring leader would do, I have penned a note to his mother in reply to one she sent me, I have sent emissaries to his side, I have placed an ambulance on standby. 

Persad-Bissessar again expressed concern about Kublalsingh's health. "Naturally, Wayne’s health is of concern to me but what is also of concern is the development of the nation I lead. We have tried to reason with the Highway Reroute Movement, more than many would have allowed. 

"Wayne chooses to deprive himself of food and water but as Prime Minister I cannot choose to deprive generations of the nation's citizens of the development which the Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension would bring." 

She added, "In suspending the roadway to facilitate discussions and reach compromises the state had to bear the burden of the costs but I did so to reach the very compromises offered by the technical team but they were all to no avail. The only result the group wants is the stoppage of the project that links major communities in the South of our island. 

"I am fortified in my conviction of my oath of office which I repeat to you this afternoon that 'I Kamla Persad Bissessar swear to bear true faith and allegiance to Trinidad and Tobago and to uphold the Constitution and the law, and that I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of my ability discharge my duties as Prime Minister and do right to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will'.

"I cannot favour any one group or allow fear to control my actions. 

"I therefore make another appeal to Wayne’s dear Parents, Ray and Vilma, and his wife and brothers and sisters to take seriously their obligation for the action of their beloved son and not transfer this parental duty to the state."

No comments:

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