Trinidad and Tobago Probes 1990 attempted Coup

Abu Bakr said the probe was "long overdue". He claims he wanted this inquiry before he died. "Everything is going to be told in the commission of enquiry" (Trinidad Guradian)

23 Jul 2010, 07:48 PM

By: gop

The Trinidad and Tobago attempted Coup will finally be investigated some 20 years after the occurrence.

On Friday July 27, 1990, 114 members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen, led by Yasin Abu Bakr and Bilaal Abdullah attempted to stage a coup d'état against the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Yasin Abu Bakr had appeared on television and announced that the government had been overthrown, and that he was negotiating with the Army. He called for calm, and said that there should be no looting.

On Wednesday, August 1st, 1990, the members of the Jamaat surrendered and were taken into custody by the T&T Armed Forces. They were charged with treason, however, the Jamaat claimed that they had an amnesty.

It was days later when copies of the amnesty emerged. It was already signed by Acting President Carter and the whole situation went to trial. The case dragged on and on. After two years, the Court of Appeal upheld the amnesty.

It was reported that Prime Minister Robinson offered the amnesty to Bakr in order to secure the Jamaat's surrender. The 114 Jamaat members were released from prison towards the end of 1992.

Trinidad and Tobago, 20 Years after attempted Coup.

On 22nd July, 2010 Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar during a post-Cabinet press briefing that Cabinet has decided on a Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances of the July 27, 1990 attempted coup in order to bring closure to the people of Trinidad and Tobago on the matter.

Former PM, and ANR leader, A.N.R. Robinson Responds

Former Prime Minister Mr. A.N.R. Robinson responded said every effort should be made to ensure there was no repeat of such an attack on the democracy of T&T. Robinson, who was shot while being held hostage in the Parliament during the attempted coup, said the commission of enquiry was long overdue. He said the decision to set up the public inquiry was a personal triumph for NAR member Wendell Eversley, who had been calling for it for several years.

"It is absolutely necessary to show the facts on how such a daring and foolish group could burst into the Parliament while in session." He said the enquiry would also explain how arms could have been brought into the country and hidden and used for the attack with the security forces knowing about them. Some 24 nationals, including two police officers and MP for Diego Martin Central Leo Des Vignes, were killed during the incident.

Imam Yasin Abu Bakr welcomes Probe

Imam Yasin Abu Bakr leader of the Jamaat al Muslimeen in Trinidad and Tobago is welcoming the probe into the 1990 attempted Coup performed by his organization.

Bakr's response to the inquiry was, "I leave it up to God." He said he would answer any questions put to him should he be called to appear before the inquiry.

On the issue of auctioning the Jamaat's land, Bakr stated, "Up to now, we don't believe. I still don't believe that these people are going to take my property."

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