It is getting hot in middle Earth.
Today, a purported internal Police document was relayed from the Head of Special branch, which claimed that the Jamaat-Al-Muslimeen (JAM) was “moving arms and ammunitions to the North and San Fernando” and had planned to “target the Prime Minister’s residence” and free the eleven persons charged with the murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal and the Vindra Naipaul-Coleman case.
For some still undetermined reason, the Jamaat apparently does not also wish to lower the price of super gasoline, safeguard corruption-accused Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner, pay the “Women Soca Warriors” their unpaid match fees and finally ascertain the truth behind Section 34.
Or maybe that is on the to-do list for next week.
Police Commissioner Stephen Williams confirmed that the memo was authentic.
So, let Mr Live Wire see what he can do with this.
First, let us look at the sudden lust for freedom from Jamaat jailbirds.
Last Friday, three prisoners—two of them were Jamaat members—escaped from the Port of Spain Prisons after receiving ammunition and a non-functioning grenade, allegedly from a visit.
The two Jamaat members, Hassan Atwell and Allan “Scanny” Martin, were shot dead within 24 hours. Only Christopher “Monster” Selby got back to prison alive.
The media claimed Atwell was killed by the “Rasta City” gang. They did not attribute this information to anyone but suggested it came from the Police.
Mr Live Wire already spoke about the ramifications of such an irresponsible leak. And today’s Police memo seems to read from the same hymn book.
Is it not a paradox for a “Confidential” document to be addressed to “All Field (sic) Section?” And what crime did “Spell Check” commit to be tortured in that manner?
That document was always meant to go outdoors and Special Branch or whoever the originator was might as well have CC’d the thing to Mark Bassant and get it over with.
Just last month, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association secretary and Inspector Michael Seales warned officers to be wary of an attempt to use them to create a state of emergency.
“The fact is that the intelligence coming to us at the association is that there is a concerted effort to bring a situation about that they provoke the membership of the Police Service so that the membership will react outwardly,” said Seales, on the TV6 Morning Edition show of June 24. “And so let me say publicly and appeal to the membership: please do not be duped into doing anything foolish. Because the reason why we are saying that is because we are hearing that there is a position to provoke the police so they can call a state of emergency to delay the elections…
“So we are admonishing every single member of the Police Service, do not do anything that will provoke that. That is what we are hearing in terms of intelligence.”
If Seales, who was suspended for his outburst, is concerned about officers being pawns in a higher Game of Thrones, then recent incidents suggest that the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) and the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Imam Yasin Abu Bakr should be just as worried.
Let’s revisit the memo.
Rajaee Ali, the presumed man-of-action at the Carapo Mosque and son of its Imam Hassan Ali, has been incarcerated for the past eight months for conspiracy to murder DJ Kevaughn “Lurbz” Savory.
The accused men in the Naipaul-Coleman case, who, incidentally, are not all Jamaat members, have been behind bars for eight years.
It is quite a coincidence that the Jamaat would suddenly decide to free all and sundry and strike at Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar within six weeks of Trinidad and Tobago’s general election.
Why Persad-Bissessar? Is the Jamaat upset that she will not debate Opposition Leader Keith Rowley?
And, with almost the entire Carapo Mosque frontline behind bars, who is coordinating an attack as ambitious as one on the presumably beefed-up Prisons and the Prime Minister’s residence?
It is plausible. The best rumours always are.
As we all know, the Jamaat has history for this sort of thing. In another convenient masterstroke, news of a potential uprising falls within the remembrance week of the attempted coup of 27 July 1990.
Is the Carapo Mosque, like the Jamaat leadership 25 years ago, preparing a violent response to the perception of State victimisation?
Or is a ‘high hand’ in the Police Service laying the groundwork for a bloody assault on Carapo? And, having failed to initiate a gang war with claims—through the media—that Rasta City shot their brother in the back, is someone raising the stakes in their provocation of Carapo muslims?
Insert conspiracy theory here:
An effort to clean the trail that leads to the mastermind behind the Seetahal murder?
A postponement for the general election?
Lurbz wants to make a “tack back” but would like to see his would-be assassins in funeral boxes first?
Does any theory make more or less sense than the other?
In 1995, the Jamaat’s attorney, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, became Trinidad and Tobago’s Attorney General with a UNC Government that the Muslimeen supported.
Yet, it was under Maharaj that the State won a massive victory over the Jamaat and the rights to 12 parcels of land. The Jamaat claimed that it was double crossed by their attorney who allowed an appeal to lapse.
And how did the murderous revolutionaries enact revenge? They released secret tapes of their meetings with Maharaj to the media.
The point is: the Jamaat does not always attempt to solve its issues with rifles, and they have not tried in quite some time. Even if some shadowy figures are trying to convince the public otherwise.
Abu Bakr issued a release in response to the rumours:
“We would like the police to clarify (the authenticity of the leaked memo),” stated the Jamaat. “We also urged the TTPA to act within the constraints of the law and to take every precaution to avoid discrimination against Muslims.
“There is no threat to the population of Trinidad and Tobago by the Jamaat Al Muslimeen. Our issues are being dealt with legally.
“There appears to be persons spreading rumours with a view to causing mischief to destabilise our country.”
And, in an unintended touch of farce, he added:
“As a people, we need to stand united and to support each other. We thank the public for their continued support.”
Cue mass eye-rolling across the country.
The Jamaat does not enjoy public support. It never did. It is why that group is the perfect target for such action in a country where extra-judicial killings are cheered by not only the man on the street but the National Security Minister.
In this Game of Thrones, there are a few armies moving at once, whether literally or figuratively, in a fight for survival and spoils—on the streets and at the polls.
Thus far, Rowley’s response has been muted. But then what can he say without making things worse?
To quote saucy wildling, Ygritte: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”