Attorney General Senator Anand Ramlogan, SC responds to Terrence Soodeen’s commentary in the “Trinidad Express” of Oct 17, 2014 captioned Doubting Ralph
The Editor, EXPRESS newspaper:-
To respond to every statement made in the media opens you up to the criticism that your skin is too thin and you have way too much spare time on your hands. On the other hand, ignoring it can have disastrous consequences as the failure to correct same is held up as evidence that it is the truth. I am therefore compelled to pen this letter.
In his response to columnist Ralph Maraj’s criticism of Kublalsingh’s alleged hunger fast and his querying how ‘real’ it is, Mr Terrence Soodeen states “Was it HRM strategy that the AG was involved in a vehicular accident after he called a talk show programme to cancel slots allotted to the HRM so that he could use those slots himself the following morning? Was his absence next morning and the handing over of those slots to the original interviews planned by the HRM? Who are the persons who you claim have “publicly avowed to bring down the Government” who stand in support of Dr Kublalsingh?”
Mr Soodeen’s assertions are mind-bogglingly false and his response therefore does precious little to dispel the doubts about the credibility of Kublalsingh’s claim of having gone a remarkable 32 days without food and water. I have never called any talk show programme to cancel slots allotted to the HRM either before or after my recent road traffic accident. This is a complete fabrication and an outright lie and I am amazed that it could be published. I was an invited guest on TV 6’s Morning Edition programme and my assistant called to cancel my appearance after I was involved in a horrific road accident that could have easily cost me my life. I was never informed about any cancellation of slots allocated to the HRM and it is hardly likely that TV 6 would have been party to such a conspiracy as both TV 6 and the Express have been extremely supportive of Kublalsingh’s alleged hunger strike.
In answer to Soodeen’s question “who are the persons who you claim ‘have publicly avowed to bring down the government’ who stand in support of Dr Kublalsingh”, might I refer Mr Soodeen, for starters, to David Abdullah and Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj. MrAbdullah is the political leader of a party that publicly opposes the government. He is a Prime Ministerial aspirant who has latched onto the HRM crusade. He has also managed to disguise himself as part of ‘civil society’ so well that he was the leader of the independent civil society groups that recently met with Dr Rambachan.
Dr Kublalsingh has identified Abdullah as his successor but we have not had any public commitment from him regarding the continuation of the alleged fast. As for Ramesh, well, the less said, the better except to remind readers that he has been rejected by the electorate every time he formed his own party or organization. This HRM political movement must be seen for what it is – a magnet and catalyst to galvanise the forces that are opposed to the government under the clever guise of concern for the environment.
The HRM has provided a political stage for those who are opposed to the government to gallery and grand charge. It has descended into farcical politics. The same people who live in ocean-view condominiums (Bayshore), shop in malls (West Mall) and eat at restaurants (Movietowne) built on land reclaimed from the ocean that damaged marine life and the ecosystem suddenly stand for environmental protection. This, in the face of dozens of multi-million dollar housing developments that litter the hills of Diego Martin and elsewhere in North Trinidad with consequential flooding that cost tax payers over a hundred million to rectify and clean up. Rightly was it asked in Matthew ” How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? ”
Apparently they understood the incursion into sanctity of the environment as part of the realistic ‘price of progress’ then but now feel compelled to protest the highway for the people of Point Fortin and Debe. They remain comfortably ensconced in this life of convenience, comfort and luxury but now wish to dictate how, when and where this highway should be built regardless of the wishes of the people. There must be equality of opportunity in national planning. There must be prosperity for all regardless of where they live.
Environmentalists won their case against the government in the judicial review case which challenged the grant of the CEC by the EMA for the aluminum smelter project. The court quashed the CEC and the rule of law prevailed. The smelter project was aborted. In the case of the Highway, the government is being asked to jettison the legal system because the HRM has lost its case against the state. We must bypass the legal structures and entities of the state that studied this project and gave the necessary approvals to ‘save’ Kublalsingh’s life. Now, we have a ‘counter hunger striker’ in the person of Ravi Maraj who is in support of the highway. Surely the nation cannot be held to ransom by either. Government policy must be guided by its manifesto and the greater public good.
May God bless you both, my dear brothers Wayne and Ravi. I admire your passion, courage and conviction but ask that you understand that we are driven by these very noble traits to build this highway for our people.
Anand Ramlogan SC