Pray, talk and the hunger strike

Location map of the Borough of Point Fortin, T...

Location map of the Borough of Point Fortin, Trinidad and Tobago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a Caribbean sister, I like to understand my fellow Caribbean nationals. Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh’s hunger strike helped me to realise that at least one type of Caribbean person is easy to understand, if only for their innate ability to be non-understandable (no I don’t want to say they are misunderstood). It is a shared trait among politicians in the region.

Check out this statement from Communication Minister Jamal Mohammed (I know my underline and bold functions are on. I did it on purpose).

“Before the Cabinet notes were brought, the entire Cabinet stood and, as is customary, we said a prayer and in our prayers we prayed for the health of Dr Kublalsingh, for him to take sustaining liquids and that he would be A-OK and we also commended his stick-to-itiveness and his will. But the entire Cabinet would love for Dr Kublalsingh to eat so that he can continue fighting, not only for this issue but many other issues as he moves forwards. So we all prayed for him.”

Yes, he is the Communication Minister and I am not crying down Trinis, a Barbadian Communication Minister is also wont to speak in such tongues, it is known to happen during prayers, but I find the statement difficult to digest and to reconcile with other events.

Yes Avram (she’s my alter ego), I know Mr. Mohammed wasn’t speaking to me but to the Trinidad’s population who understand the nuance of Trini-speak but if all that goodwill sentiment is there, what is the action?

Does it mean they so like his stick-to-itiveness and his will, that they want to see how much it can be stretched. I doubt. As an outsider, I am learning that part of the divide between environmentalist Dr Kublalsingh and the government is an independent technical review on the contentious Mon Desir section of the Point Fortin Highway.

Environmentalist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh on hunger strike

Environmentalist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh on hunger strike. Picture taken from

Four civil society organisations, the Joint Consultative Council (JCC), the T&T Transparency Institute, the Women Working for Social Progress and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions have presented the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s government with a proposal which they believe will bring a positive solution to the impasse. It centres on the independent review.

“If an independent review exists, and that is in question, then it can be immediately published. If it does not exist we are calling for one to be created and we have outlined a process for the creation of an independent review of the matters in dispute within three months,” president of JCC Afra Raymond is quoted in the Trinidad Guardian as saying.

I, see it within the context of sustainable development which is a global goal. That is development:

that meets the needs of the present (generation) without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is not a fixed state of harmony, but rather a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investment, the orientation of technical development and the institutional change are made consistent with future as well as present needs.”

Paraphrase: it is not only about today but includes tomorrow; about the relationship between natural world and the man-made world. Perhaps the report will shed light on many of these issues and lead to compromise between the disputing factions and a better Trinidad for today and tomorrow.

But Avram’s idea is that the Trinidad &Tobago’s voters put the party in power to govern, and it is governing; secondly, not every document should be in common hands or is for public consumption. I pooh-pa that comment though I understand the argument about selectivity because I can’t see the common hands to which she refers nor do I believe such information will constitute a state secret.

This participatory ethos, baffles Avram but not the United Nations do, so I rest my case on that one.

But she says if I think government should make the document available then I am getting into Trinidad’s politics, and I should get out,” Avram said.

But I am speaking as a Caribbean person, a humanitarian, concerned about the environment and as Bajans would say “more to besides” my grandmother is a Marshall with relatives in Dow Village, South Oropouche, though they are out of contact.

HIGHWAY PROTEST: Members of the Highway Re-Route Movement, sit next to an excavator that was used to clear land at Monteil Trace, Fyzabad, in preparation for the Fyzabad Interchange last week.—Photo: DAVE PERSADTrinidad Express

HIGHWAY PROTEST: Members of the Highway Re-Route Movement, sit next to an excavator that was used to clear land at Monteil Trace, Fyzabad, in preparation for the Fyzabad Interchange last week.—Photo: DAVE PERSAD
Trinidad Express

Ha, she laughs, three points negate your statement. One, Minister of Works and Infrastructure Emmanuel George said the highway will not be passing through the Oropouche Lagoon, as stated by the Re-Route Movement; two, you don’t know Trinidad’s geography enough to gauge the location of Dow Village in relation to the lagoon, even if you believe the civic groups; nor can you say anything about the point related to flooding, there.

I said I am trying to understand what is meant by Cabinet praying; wishing the end of Dr. Kublalsingh’s hunger strike so he can continue fighting issues; and commending his stick-to-itiveness and his will.

Does it mean action will follow pray? Perhaps.

Mr Mohammed said  they will “make an effort on behalf of the Government to provide copies (of the documents) to the media,” but that the documents were public papers and available through the courts.

If the media, why not the groups, why do to court for them,” I asked.

Participatory, I tell you so, Avram said, she wasn’t listening to my last statement. I smirked.


3 thoughts on “Pray, talk and the hunger strike

  1. Thanks John, I am happy that you love the Caribbean and you are welcomed to come back as many times as you can and more. Make sure you visit all the islands, we share many similarities but each island has its special flavour that I promise will delight you.
    Thanks also for visiting my blog; I try to give visitors a peep into my Caribbean, that is the reason for the potpourri of topics- fun, politics, business etc. – of all scents and hues.
    Thanks again

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