My name is Wayne Kublalsingh.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have been involved in nine very serious matters of economic development in Trinidad and Tobago, from 2002 to now. All of these involved advocacy against government projects and actions. And in all of these matters, we have not lost.
There are three matters in which I am currently engaged. The Debe to Mon Desir highway project collapsed in early 2016, after hardly getting off the road, and the matter is, since August 2012, still pending in the High Court. The Arima Market Vendors Association matter, for which I was arrested and am facing charges, is now in mediation and the mayor and the CEO of the Borough facing a possible court challenge. The other matter, the proposed action of the Cabinet to build 12 eight-storey high-rises on the St Augustine Nurseries, part of the St Joseph Farm, is also facing a court challenge: an application for leave in the High Court of San Fernando on Friday 4th January 2019 at 10am.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to make the following two points. In all of these nine matters — some of which have not even reached the media, for example, two years ago where Petrotrin was proposing to run a gas line under a Siparia village in South Trinidad, or another where the company’s pipeline blocked access to farmers using the Moriche Lagoon in San Francique, never reach media or the general attention of the public – in these public matters, I never go to help on my own. I am called. People come to me, from all corners of the Republic. I go, I listen. Where there is a sound case I assist. I never jump out of my wife’s D’Abadie house and rush to help. I am called.
Secondly, ladies and gentlemen, I never fight alone. I never win alone. In all these instances it is the communities which win. It is they, who faithfully, with all the rush of blood and intelligence I call out of them, who face police, soldiers, governments, tricky bureaucrats and technocrats, the vagaries of long court sessions, and win. It is not I who win, it is they. This has all happened in the past, where the communities call me, I go, fight with them, with other activists, and we win.
Now, there is one exception. And that is why I am making this appeal. And that is the St Augustine Nurseries matter. No one invited me. I saw an atrocity. I went. There has been found, thus far, no community to back this fight. A team of professionals and lawyers, assembled a month ago, could not go forward on this matter; guarantees were needed which could not be given; I decided to file the action against the state on my own, with one other claimant, the president of the Farmers Union, Mr Shiraz Khan.
This matter cannot be won by Wayne Kublalsingh and Mr Shiraz Khan alone. We need community. We want the help of that part of the Republic that also regards this as an atrocity. To plan actions on the ground, advocate on the media, engage the state diplomatically, and to assist with our High Court challenge. All of these actions need to be resourced. I am no attorney. What is required immediately are legal resources and the financial resources required to fund our legal team.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I know several learned counsel: Fyard Hosein, Senior Counsel; Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, Senior Counsel; Mr Lennox Sankersingh; and Anil Maraj, ‘LL’, Rishi Dass and others. These attorneys have worked honourably, steadfastly and with great principle for us on several pending matters; one involving charges against seven Highway Reroute members, including myself, before the Siparia Magistrates Court. How can I ask these citizens to give more of themselves? It would be taking advantage. The senior attorneys have all worked pro bono.
So, for the St Augustine Nurseries matter, I have to search for other attorneys. For legal help to lead or assist with our High Court matter, and for the financial resources to assist. Many persons like to call Kublalsingh’s name when governments embark on ill-conceived projects. Where is Kublalsingh? He in a coma? He not fasting again? Where is he on this matter? If was we party, he woulda protest! They never ask, what is Kublalsingh’s state of health? What is Kublalsingh’s state of finances? Is Kublalsingh employed? How is he managing with the 11 charges facing him?
In none of my activist work do I receive financial recompense; I, my family, friends, and donors have spent over three million dollars on these nine public matters mentioned above. Nor have I ever requested payment for the over 200 newspaper articles I have written since 2007.
Ladies and gentlemen, the fundamental principle of my activism remains constant. It is solidly economic. Government ought not to take our valued economic resources, the very resources which constitute the lynchpin of our diversification and economic development, and irrationally and recklessly destroy them. But, we cannot fight only with talk and moral protestation. We have to put ourselves and our resources on the line. Are you an attorney? Can you lead or assist in this legal matter? Do you have the resources to fund prospective attorneys? Please call me at 771-5181, or email me at [email protected].