PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Trinidad Express) — Trinidad’s security minister yesterday said that the Jamaican Government paid over $230,000 to hire a private jet to send Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr back to Trinidad and Tobago yesterday, after the Trinidad and Tobago Government denied the request to pay the fees to hire the aircraft to transport Abu Bakr home.
National Security Minister Gary Griffith made the announcement at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference. The Jamaican request was made through Trinidad and Tobago’s High Commissioner Iva Gloudon. And Griffith said it was the first time the Trinidad and Tobago authorities knew about the decision to deport Abu Bakr.
Asked whether he was expecting to receive an invoice from the Jamaican Government, Griffith said: “No, I was very clear that Trinidad and Tobago will not bear the costs of that private flight.” He said the cost of it was US$36,000.
Griffith stressed the Trinidad and Tobago Government had no involvement in the decision taken by the Jamaican authorities with respect to the deportation of Bakr. He denied that his Ministry supplied any information to the Jamaican authorities.
Griffith said he respected the decision of Jamaica and had no intention of “jumping on a bandwagon” and saying “that waters are being muddied or that persons need to shut up or that it is being irresponsible or affecting Caricom. You have to understand that national security trumps all”, he said. The Jamaican Government and Opposition had told Griffith not to “muddy the integration waters” and had suggested he refrain from making “disrespectful comments”, in the wake of the deportation of 13 Jamaicans within the last two weeks.
Griffith said the exact laws used in Trinidad and Tobago by the immigration officers to deny persons entry, if they are deemed as undesirables or a liability to the public purse, was the precise law used by the Jamaican immigration officials to deport Abu Bakr.