T&T Muslim leader plans to give his side of ‘events’ in failed coup

Port of Spain, Trinidad (CMC) – Leader of the Jamaat-Al-Muslimeen group, Yasin Abu Bakr, says he will soon host an event in a bid to provide Trinidad and Tobago with an explanation as to why his group sought to overthrow the government in 1990.

“It doesn’t matter. I owe the people of Trinidad and Tobago the truth. Very soon, we are going to be hosting our own explanation of the issues that led up to 1990 and clear up all the questions that are unanswered,” Bakr said on Sunday night.

His comments follow the release of the report by the Commission of Inquiry into the July 27, 1990 attempted coup in which Bakr led more than 100 men in trying to overthrow the government of then prime minister ANR Robinson.

At least 24 people, including one legislator, Leo Des Vignes, were killed during the six day insurrection that ended on August1.  Bakr and his men were tried for treason, but the Court of Appeal upheld the amnesty offered to secure their surrender, and they were released.

However, The London-based Privy Council, the country’s highest court, later invalidated the amnesty, but the Muslimeen members were not re-arrested.

Bakr never appeared before the Commission, adding that he has not read the four-volume report that the government has made public on the website of the Trinidad and Tobago parliament.

“No, I have not read a line. I don’t need to read it. I am the author of the book. What do I need to read,” said Bakr, who in the past had insisted that he be paid for appearing before the Commission to give his side of the events.

The Muslim leader said that during the Commission hearing, there were people who tried to be “Hollywood stars”.

The Commission was chaired by the Barbadian jurist Sir David Simmons, and Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar told legislators last Friday that she hoped the publication of the report would bring considerable satisfaction and some closure to Robinson, who withstood the intended humiliation of those days of infamy with remarkable dignity and courage.

She said the government had taken a decision to waive the confidentiality aspects on national security so as to ensure national debate on the document.

“The advantages for holding this inquiry are endless and based on the findings…it will have us better prepared in the future both to ensure that such an event does not happen again or that the loss of lives and property will be minimised  if such an event does in fact take place.

“The findings of the Commission will be to ensure that history should not repeat itself and to see what can be done to ensure that if such an event arises again it can be better contained for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago,” she told legislators.

The Commission began its work in 2011 after the coalition People’s Partnership government came to power in May 2010.

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