Our Prime Minister, the first woman PM of Trinidad & Tobago broke our hearts.  2010 made us proud that a woman had taken over the leadership of the country and provided a moment for us all to dream of equalling this achievement in other areas.

The hallmarks of her leadership have been disputes and confusion.  4 years and 5 months later, she is mired in controversy of every kind: from corruption and bribery allegations to the callous response to Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh’s hunger strike.  I expected by now that she would have reached out in some way to put action behind her rhetoric that she will “serve the people, serve the people, serve the people”.  Instead there was the token 2-minute visit with her Minister of Health.

This has been followed by several attempts to discredit the “Hunger Strike” and suggest that Dr. Kublalsingh is not exhibiting signs of a person in crisis.  On each occasion that the PP Government has come up against any formidable opposition, they have used a similar strategy – to discredit the person, in the full confidence that some mud will stick and eventually doubt will be created about the issue.

In this case, the PM’s intention is to change the conversation and divert attention away from the Armstrong Report.  Here are 3 critical recommendations:

  1. It is recommended that no further work be undertaken on the Highway site until all of the conditions contained in the CEC have been fulfilled, including the need for all plans specified in the EIA to be submitted to the EMA, and for approvals to be obtained from the relevant agencies. This includes the Storm Water Management Plan and the Water Management Plan, consideration of which involves stakeholder consultation and feedback via the Working Group which is required to be formed as part of the CEC conditions.Optimum Connectivity Proposal
  2. In accordance with the TCP Act no further construction work should be carried out on the site until all of the conditions attached to Notice of Grant of PP referenced T7M: 0440/2007 and Notice of Grant of PP referenced T8N: 0443/2007 have been fulfilled.
  3. No further engineering operations are to be undertaken on the land at Petit Morne, St. Madeline on which it is proposed to relocate persons residing in the path of the alignment until all necessary approvals are obtained from the relevant agencies.

The HRM has received a fillip from some non aligned youths who have joined the struggle and are conducting their own fast for 40 days.  I am inspired to see young people participating in our democracy and wish that they attract many more from their cohort to occupy the HRM camp opposite to the Prime Minister’s Office.  Dr. Kublalsingh has done his part, it’s now time for us to support him. 

Madame PM, as your term in office comes to an end, please honour your promise to serve the people and come to the table with Civil Society and the HRM.  History will NOT absolve you!

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