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Fuad Abu Bakr: Jamaat acted to save T&T; my father is a scapegoat

Fuad Abu Bakr, political leader of the New National Vision (NNV), accuses the Government of using his father and Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Imam Yasin Abu Bakr as a scapegoat, reveals why he clashed with the Imam over the 1990 Commission of Enquiry and explains why the NNV is not a Muslim party, as Wired868 continues its review of the 1990 attempt coup through the eyes of the Jamaat.

Abu Bakr sat down with Wired868 reporter Otancia Noel for this one-on-one interview:

Photo: NNV political leader Fuad Abu Bakr. (Copyright Orleen Orr)
Photo: NNV political leader Fuad Abu Bakr.
(Copyright Orleen Orr)

WIRED868 REPORTER (WR) Otancia Noel: What do you think has provoked the recent detention of the Imam and where do you see this whole issue ending up?

FUAD ABU BAKR (FAB): There is so much public pressure for someone to be held in connection with the Dana Seetahal murder but confidence in the police is low. Dana’s family and other prominent members of our society have all been lobbying for someone to go down. A $3.5 million reward is on offer.

What better scapegoat than the man everyone loves to hate?

The truth is that our leaders don’t respect the law and there is a political flavour to this persecution. The Minister of National Security, who said on national TV that “The Imam knows why he is detained,” has implicated himself. He confessed that at his age he still remembers 1990. But the law took its course in 1990. The Imam and others were imprisoned for two years until the highest court of our jurisdiction ordered their release.

Unfortunately, those events have been the fuel for continuing persecution. Four years ago, properties belonging to the Imam and Kala Aki Bua were sold to pay for damage done to Police Headquarters almost two decades earlier. Twenty years! And I don’t have to remind you that the Privy Council stated categorically more than 15 years ago that “any further prosecution of the Imam and others would be an abuse of process.”

The former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, who some say is still working powerfully behind the scenes since his removal from the Cabinet, made a public statement about the sale of the properties, boasting that his government was the only one brave enough to deal with Abu Bakr. Remember that the People’s Partnership Government took office in 2010, full 20 years after July 1990 and more than a decade after the Privy Council’s verdict.

They are “brave enough” to deal with Abu Bakr but not brave enough to arrest the ex-minister who is (allegedly) wanted for conspiracy to murder a radio DJ. You see, poor people can be persecuted; Muslims in general and the Imam in particular are all fair game.

Fortunately, in many sectors, public opinion is in the Imam’s favour. Many people are tired of the cold cases, tired of Abu Bakr being the scapegoat. They have been calling for real justice, for action against the real goat in this matter and against other corrupt officials in our society.

The smokescreen has been lifted and the detention has, I am confident, backfired.

Photo: Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Imam Yasin Abu Bakr (centre) leaves the Port of Spain Hall of Justice in the company of his bodyguards. (Courtesy Power102)
Photo: Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Imam Yasin Abu Bakr (centre) leaves the Port of Spain Hall of Justice in the company of his bodyguards.
(Courtesy Power102)

WROkay. Let’s talk about the attempted coup. This July marks 25 years since that fateful day in 1990 when your father’s troops stormed into the Red House and raped the Parliament. Looking back at that unforgettable six-day period 25 years later – I know you were just about two years old at that time – what is your first thought?

FAB:  In fact, I am a little bit older than that. I am 29, soon to be 30, so that means I would have been four years and a bit in July 1990.

Like I have said before, my recollection of the event itself is very, very minimal so I can’t tell you about the actual event itself. However, after that, as a young man growing up in a society, I had a serious interest in what had transpired and, being exposed to history and other things as well, I pieced together things afterwards.

I read extensively on it, I spoke to teachers who had some idea of what had happened, to members of the Jamaat who were involved, to members of the armed forces at the time, the Police and the Army and even ordinary members of the public. That is where I would have gained all my information on it from.

 

 WR:  Of course, since you were just four years old, your recollection of the days and weeks leading up to July 27 is bound to be, well, not very good. But is there anything that you think might have given you a clue about what was in preparation, what was about to happen?

FAB: No. At four years? Nah! I could remember that during the coup – this is probably one of the best, one of the strongest memories I have of that time – my siblings and I, we had to live with our grandparents at that time. My grandfather was a retired police officer and he lived at the top of St Ann’s on a old julie mango estate.

I can remember us feeling some sort of resentment towards the police. So myself, my siblings, my cousins, quite a few of us were up there and we hid in the bush and threw mangoes at the police officers who were patrolling perhaps because of the state of emergency and the curfew. We hid from them and we got away with it but our grandfather got the complaint from the police because obviously they know him well since he was an ex-policeman. And he scolded us for that action.

So I can remember feeling that resentment or rebelliousness towards what was the police authority at that time. Maybe that was born out of the incident itself.

Photo: Yasin Abu Bakr (right) speaks to fellow Jamaat-al-Muslimeen members shortly after their release from prison in 1992. (Copyright AP)
Photo: Yasin Abu Bakr (right) speaks to fellow Jamaat-al-Muslimeen members shortly after their release from prison in 1992.
(Copyright AP)

WR:  Here’s a scenario for you: you are 20 years old and the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen decides to storm the Parliament and overthrow the elected government. Your father, the leader of the coup, says you are NOT to get involved. What do you do?

FAB:  I think any action that is as strong as that one obviously has causes. And those causes have to be heartfelt for individuals to risk their lives, to risk not coming back home to see their families, their children. And, therefore, given such strong circumstances as a young man and understanding what was taking place, I would have wanted to be involved if it was necessary.

Man must take responsibility and I always remember that Martin Luther said that if a man is not willing to die for something, then he is not worthy of living. And ideals and values are important things, the protection of your family, the protection of your honour, the protection of your nation, the protection of your fellow man… I think those are things that a man should be willing to sacrifice himself for.

And I am a man and I feel as though, if a situation like that arose, I would be willing to lay myself on the line in protection of those things…

 

WR:   So going back to the time when you were four, four and a half and your father was locked up, were you allowed to visit your father while he was in prison for those two years? What was that experience like? What impact has being without your father’s presence for two whole years during the formative period of your life had on you? 

FAB:   Yes. I can actually remember that a little bit better. I and my other siblings, we were all very close to our parents, especially my father and it is a difficult thing for a child to not have his father who he or she is accustomed to around. We did get the opportunity to visit him and I must say thanks to the prison authorities that we always got the opportunity to meet him in a dignified manner.

It was very casual; we sat in a room together; it wasn’t the typical prison visit and I understand that that is a privilege that I remain grateful for.

So, yes, it had an effect. I think we learned from a very young age to deal with difficult situations. Life is not a bed of roses; it is made up of continual challenges and I think our experience has actually made us stronger as individuals. There is always this analogy of diamonds being formed under pressure and I feel as though some of the difficult periods we have been through in our lives have helped to make us more solid as individuals.

I see some of my peers going through difficulties in their lives and they can’t cope with it. Some of them break down, they suffer from depression. I have had friends who have tried to kill themselves and that is sad. So I am actually grateful for what I have learned and what I have been through, which shaped me and made me stronger.

I know that has a lot to do with faith and belief in God.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Radanfah Abu Bakr (right) challenges Iran forward Ashkan Dejagah for the ball during a friendly in June 2014. Abu Bakr is also the son of Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Imam Yasin Abu Bakr. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Radanfah Abu Bakr (right) challenges Iran forward Ashkan Dejagah for the ball during a friendly in June 2014.
Abu Bakr is also the son of Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Imam Yasin Abu Bakr.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

WR:  The Imam chose not to testify before the Commission of Enquiry into the events of July 1990. Do you agree with his decision not to do so? Would you have preferred him to tell the country what really happened?

FAB: No. I made it expressly clear to the Imam that I think he should have gone forward and explained the entire situation to the best of his ability to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. I always implore him to tell his story so that people would understand that it was a matter of self-sacrifice for a greater good for the population of  Trinidad and Tobago.

I don’t know if we are ever going to be fortunate enough again to see human beings who are willing to put themselves on the line because of their belief in a greater good. The type of selfish, self-serving individuals that exist now, nobody, very, very few people are willing to risk themselves for anything at all

I felt as though (he should testify) – and I expressed my opinion – but he is the Imam and he is a central figure in the coup; he chose not to and I respect his decision. But I felt as though it was a positive thing to have that opportunity to clarify certain things.

But I must say again that there are some people who know better and they just don’t want to accept the truth. Trinbagonians at times they don’t want to be properly informed but they always want to have an opinion. They want to talk, they sometimes want to parrot what other people say without giving the issue proper thought, without really trying to find out both sides, without much understanding and that is definitely one of the turn-offs I have with my people.

 

WR:  Well, the Imam has told me that there are things to be explained but the Commission of Enquiry was not the time for him to explain. He, he said, would know when the time is right for it. But do you think that the Jamaat, your father, owes the country, owes the people of T&T an apology for what happened in July 1990? I mean, he was trying to help them out of what he considered to be trying circumstances but either he overestimated the degree of disaffection in the society or he misread the level of their desire to help themselves. But whatever the reason, the public reaction was not what he anticipated… Would you agree?

FAB:   Well, I don’t think the response was what the Jamaat anticipated. I think the looting that took place was a very interesting phenomenon, not in a international context because if we look at a lot of the issues now within America and other societies, when there is something that ignites the people, you see looting and damage and stuff and I guess it’s people venting. I don’t understand the phenomenon totally because me personally that would not be the way I would act if something was transpiring.

I feel as though that was the way people participated in showing their annoyance and anger at what was transpiring in our society at that point in time. The media as well don’t like to report it that way; they like to point fingers but there was a large segment of the society – I’m not saying a majority – but quite a few people that participated in that action and you cannot blame the Jamaat – I’ve seen people blame the Jamaat because that was not foreseeable from the population.

So apologise? I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t know if that is necessary. Actions should be judged by intentions and from what I gather the intentions of the Imam and other people were sincere.  They really felt as though they were in a position where they had little choice but to defend themselves in that way and get rid of the NAR Government at that point in time. They did not mean for people to loot or for people to lose their lives; they understood that that may have transpired but there has to be the understanding that sometimes there is a greater sacrifice. Yes, people may lose their lives, yes, people did lose their lives, even they may have lost their lives but the action was for the total benefit of the entire society going forward.

We have rebuilt. I don’t know if we have benefited the way we should have in our understanding. I think that consciousness has not developed since; it has probably regressed and that is probably the worst part of it. We should have understood and learned and regrouped as a people, the whole of Trinidad and Tobago should have tried our best to stop the causes from ever recurring. But yet in this time we are seeing corruption, we are seeing the same leaving behind of certain sectors of our population, the same poverty, that I think were critical in causing the July 1990 action.

Photo: Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr. (Courtesy Jyoti Communication)
Photo: Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr.
(Courtesy Jyoti Communication)

WR:  Many people are saying that the current government is oppressive and dictatorial. Do you think that the prevailing socio-political conditions might be driving someone with a social conscience like yours to do something about it?

FAB:   Yes, I feel as though there are quite a few negatives in the socio-political landscape that are creating a lot of tension within our society and I feel, from taking the pulse of the people, that things are extremely polarized politically. People seem to feel they have been unjustly dealt with by this government and previous governments and it is almost as though… I don’t know if something similar is going to transpire but it feels as though we are going to have difficulty in this political period if we continue; that is how polarized the country is.

It’s a sad situation and, like I said, I hoped that people would have learned from the past, not to prevent things by having more guns or to prevent things by having surveillance when the Jamaat or social groups or whatever or suppressing certain individuals. Not like that. But it has to be done by being fair in their political dealings, being honest, communicating properly with the public at large, giving a fair share to everyone within the society; those are the things that are going to stop social unrest, not guns and all the other things they are trying to buy now….

 

WR:  I read the following paragraph somewhere:

In fairness to all concerned, the idea of living together as a community with meaningful goals and aspirations for bettering oneself and the society at large was the primary goal of the Jamaat when it was formed; but as things went along, ideas and agendas were misrepresented, misinterpreted and misunderstood. People changed, times changed and, along the way, some things had a negative impact on the original ideology and philosophy of the Jamaat.

You were not around at the outset when the Jamaat was still taking shape but you were born into it. Would you like to comment? Do you feel competent to make a judgement on whether it has, as the writer seems to be suggesting, drifted far from its roots and, if yes, in what way(s)?

FAB: I can speak about my conscious, first-hand knowledge as a member of the Jamaat. I feel that an organization is continually growing; it goes through challenging periods and then it has periods when it thrives and flourishes. We live in difficult conditions and Islam, I feel, is under a worldwide threat almost.

There is a lot of negative stigma on Islam and a lot of stereotypes even in Trinidad and Tobago because of the coup and the way it was portrayed and the subsequent negative media around it. There has been and there continues to be a certain level of marginalization of Muslims, especially those who attend and participate in this community and this mosque. And that is a negative thing.

But to say that the Jamaat in general has changed ideology and philosophy, I wouldn’t say that is correct. I think it is a religious organization obviously built around community living and outreach and helping people towards Islam and helping people in general to understand how to live. And I still see the Jamaat as doing that.

It has had challenges and that has set it back as well. But God willing, insha Allah, it will continue and become stronger.

Photo: NNV political leader Fuad Abu Bakr.
Photo: NNV political leader Fuad Abu Bakr.

WR:  So let’s talk politics for a little bit. Do you see your being the Political Leader of the NNV and the Imam-in-waiting of the Jamaat as a conflict of interest?

FAB:  I don’t know about being the Imam-in-waiting. Allah knows best…

 

WR:    Surely the public is likely to see you that way…

FAB:    Yes, I understand that. But I could die tomorrow. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. Besides, in Islam, leadership is not a process determined by lineage at all. God knows best in terms of those things.

But I don’t see it as a conflict of interest. I am a member of a number of organizations so this is no different. The Jamaat-al-Muslimeen is a religious, social organization, I am a Muslim, I have never said I am not. Other people in politics, including our prime minister, are of various other persuasions, religious persuasions and there are also members of other social groups that identify very closely with their religious and social groups, like the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, so I don’t see that as a conflict of interest at all.

My work within the Jamaat as a PRO at some point and as a youth leader has helped to develop me in my interaction with youth and other individuals. We are socially oriented so we do a lot of assistance work, ADR, charity work, etc. I think service to people is service to God; if you are not willing to help people, your fellow man, then you have no place in politics and you have very little place on Earth.

That is what I have learnt here. We have had a profound effect on a lot of young people and the older people as well, helped them to change their lives. Of course, there are some who come here and they don’t change, they don’t change from the way they were before and they do negative things in the society and that is sad. We try but we can’t help everyone.

I feel as though if the society and the government worked hand-in-hand with the Jamaat, if we had the resources, we would have been able to achieve more because our goals and our aspirations are extremely positive and would help the society at large. I don’t feel as though the government of the day understands that. I feel some of them don’t really care. I think they are more interested in their own political ambitions and power and what can achieve that for them instead of working and reaching out to the people who can help Trinidad and Tobago to progress in a positive way.

So, no, it’s not a conflict of interest

 

WR: I seem to remember hearing somewhere that before the formation of the Jamaat your father either as an independent or as a member of a political party which had a cornucopia as its symbol contested a seat  in the Diego Martin area. So is the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen already actively engaged in formal politics?

FAB:    Interesting. Is that so? Well, I didn’t even know that. I’ll have to ask him about that.

Photo: A Muslim observes prayer time.
Photo: A Muslim observes prayer time.

WR:   So is it fair to consider the New National Vision party which you lead the political arm of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen?

FAB:   No, that would be totally incorrect. We are wider than the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen; we are open to the entire society of Trinidad and Tobago. We fielded 12 candidates in the last general election and half of them were not Muslims. So the NNV is not even an Islamic party as people would like to brand us; it is really much broader in scope. It is a matter of people who want a true change in Trinidad and Tobago coming together and trying to offer that change, trying to bring a political vehicle for consciousness and for truth in our nation. That transcends race, religion, creed, culture; we are all human beings and we all have certain needs and rights that we all deserve to have fulfilled and that is way too broad to speak about us as if we are the Jamaat alone.

 

WR:   Would you say that your participation in electoral politics might be a source of conflict in the Jamaat? My sense is that there are people in the Jamaat who feel strongly that the Jamaat’s true role does not lie in that area? 

FAB: Yeah, I have gotten that comment from a few Muslims. Some Muslims say that we shouldn’t be involved in politics at all; others, on the other hand, say that we should not get involved in the way we’re getting involved. I disagree. I feel that by whatever means you can change a system, bring positivity to your country or wherever you are, you should make an effort to do so.

There are many members of our organization and other Muslims who do vote and get involved politically and they choose to get involved with people who have less-than-proper characters, some of them are not even religiously minded at all. And to me that is a shame in itself. They support people who are clearly in my opinion hypocrites, they say one thing and then when they reach into power they do the next.

I feel as though all God-fearing people, not just Muslims, there are Christians and other people who hold their moral and spiritual values high should try to analyse their options properly in terms of candidates and in terms of leadership and support people who are going to do positive, righteous, good things for our society.

I feel strongly as though the opportunity and the resources to make a profound, positive impact on the society are vested in the politicians, including the leaders of our country and therefore good people, righteous people should be offering themselves for leadership, should be fighting and struggling to do the best for all the people of our country with the resources of our country.

And that is why I am involved politically.

 

Editor’s Note: In part two of this two-part series, Fuad Abu Bakr responds to suggestions that he has no business in politics because of his father’s history and gives the NNV’s position on same-sex relationships and marriage.

About Otancia Noel

Otancia Noel
Otancia Noel has a Literatures in English bachelor's degree at COSTAATT and is finishing a Masters in Fine Arts, Creative writing and Prose Fiction at UWI. She grew up on the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen compound in Mucurapo.

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197 comments

  1. Earl Best

    And without being presumptuous I feel I should reassure our brother Jamaal that nobody here is “spewing hate” at him. In “Hoosay,”his classic calypso on the attempted coup,” David Rudder reminds us that “Now Trini know what is Uzi diplomacy, now Trini know what is SLR love…” It’s his way of saying that we crossed a threshold in 1990 and it is that very real fear of the unknown that so many of us experienced for the first time in those horrible six days that translates, I think, into the strength of feeling that Jamaal is, I submit, mistaking for hate.

  2. Earl Best

    Thanks to the person who posted the Yvonne Baboolal story. It sets out very clearly, – doesn’t it, Chabeth? – many of the things people have been asking Jamaal to tell us about. Is there some reason why he has so far declined to tell his story which is, as Baboolal’s story makes clear, already a matter of the public record?
    I, for one, can hardly wait to see what Yasin has to say about his recent arrest and the charges brought against Rajaee and co. Like so many other people I have talked to, I was very certain that the timing was no coincidence and the government was merely trying to make themselves look good with election in the air. Of course, that remains a possibility but I doubt they would have been brave enough to use the judicial system in the way what has happened today suggests.

  3. Interesting too, the self-appointed role of moral defender of the nation, but that’s par for the course with these movements. Still, would be interesting to read the interview.

  4. The story doesn’t say the NAR started the drug trade. It just claims that it benefitted from it. I don’t think it hard to believe that every Gov’t has had to turn a blind eye to it. Note that I can’t confirm or deny anything about the Jamaat’s role in the business.
    But Wired868 does have interview with Yasin Abu Bakr that would be published tomorrow or Monday. I haven’t read it yet but I know the headline suggests it is about the drug trade.

  5. So what other facts does Mr. Shabazz have to bring forward? He keeps saying we don’t have the facts.

  6. So the drug trade just miraculously appeared on the election of the NAR Government? Somewhat odd, that.

  7. The alleged murder of Woman Police Constable Bernadette James after she saw former National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) national security ministers Selwyn Richardson and Herbert Atwell in a room at Piarco Airport with cocaine on a table was a major cause of the 1990 attempted overthow of the Government by Jamaat al Muslimeen insurgents. This was revealed by senior Jamaat member Jamaal Shabazz as he gave evidence before the commission of enquiry into the coup d’etat, at the Caribbean Court of Justice in Port-of-Spain yesterday. Shabazz, who led the takeover of Radio Trinidad, was one of the 114 insurrectionists who were charged for the uprising. Further, the NAR’s alleged indifference to the thriving drug trade and subsequent attacks on the Jamaat because of its anti-drug campaign were other reasons that led to the attempted coup, Shabazz told the commission.
    He said in August 1987, WPC James visited the Jamaat and told senior members that she saw Richardson, Atwell and Major Thompson in a room at the airport with the cocaine. In his witness statement, Shabazz said Richardson had something on his finger which he tasted and said: “This is the real thing but we have to put a lid on this. If we allow them to be charged, it will be a big scandal and a lot of big people would be affected. “James said she was chastised for entering the room and ordered to leave. “Her opinion was that a large quantity of cocaine was intercepted by the police and it belonged to an influential family and moves were afoot to cover it up,” Shabazz said.
    He said James said she was confused and feared for her life. In October 1987, James was summoned to do a MOPS (police) operation in Tucker Valley where she was reportedly accidentally shot and killed in a training exercise. Shabazz said the Jamaat immediately called a meeting to discuss the matter. “We felt she was murdered,” he said. The Jamaat made a decision to help stamp out the cocaine trade by going after pushers on the blocks, Shabazz said. “It was causing destruction in the land,” he added.
    He said police officers with whom Imam Yasin Abu Bakr spoke about it, said “this thing is bigger than us” and were unable to help. “We focused on the East-West Corridor and took a very militant stance,” Shabazz said. “We seized pushers’ drugs and took it to Trinidad & Tobago Television to destroy it in front of the media. “When we identified a pusher, we would make a raid and bring them in. “We threatened them and warned them to stop within three days or there would be more serious consequences.”
    Shabazz said they used heavy intimidation and succeeded in getting most of the pushers they targeted to stop the illegal trade. “Aggressive hostile persons would get some licks,” he said. Shabazz said with the exception of Tooks and Bulls and the King brothers, who retaliated with a war on the Muslimeen, they managed to subdue the drug trade on the East-West Corridor. Questioned by lead counsel Avory Sinanan, Shabazz denied that the Jamaat was taking the cocaine and selling it. He admitted that rogue elements in the organisation raided blocks on their own for their own benefit and claimed the Jamaat also had to deal with them.
    He said sometime after their war on the cocaine trade, the police began arresting Jamaat members on trumped-up charges. “They instructed the police to come down on us like a steam roller,” Shabazz said. “All our methods to stamp out the drug trade were met with harsh retaliation by the NAR. “They destroyed a bakery we had in an abandoned DEWD building in Laventille saying we were trespassing. “We had information from national security that the army and the police would come to the compound and an accident would take place and we would be killed. “The NAR tolerated the drug trade…The drug situation definitely led to the attempted coup,” Shabazz said.
    By Yvonne Baboolal.
    Thursday, June 23, 2011.

  8. Again, lay out the facts. We are all eager to hear. Put them in order if you must. But understand, the Jamaat led by Yasin Abu Bakr hurt this nation. He and the rest have never apologized. It might seem inconsequential, but making amends, showing remorse, is important. It helps the healing process.

  9. And I’m still interested in your explanation of why the Jamaat signed the amnesty instead of “killing them all.”

  10. Is there ever going to be an official apology from the Jamaat for the attempted coup?

  11. I testified in the COE but this conversation has descended into the spewing of hate. I am not threatening but if we ask specific things or deal with matters in an order then I can give my knowledge or experiences from living the reality. While I am eager to defend the Jamaat position I have a bigger responsibility to tell the truth to the nation. And it’s amazing how little info the spewers of venom have on 1990 and the jamaat. Thus if as most are doing people venting their emotions that’s cool I won’t respond however if you want facts I can clarify things good or bad.

  12. Lay out the facts then instead of threatening to. Smh. Better yet,why didn’t you go to the COE and provide said facts? How about some remorse?

  13. I never heard Selwyn Richardson name call in relation to the amnesty. Thought that was John Humphrey. Selwyn’s murder remains one of the most baffling unsolved murders in Trinidad. 20 years and still no clue.

  14. You guys gone off proper discourse when you ready to engage facts I will contribute again. In the mean time to all you Chief justices it is a good thing the Muslimeen has not settled all their disputes with the same kind of emotions you are displaying. And when we die and become dust the Creator of the heavens and earth will determine who goes to heaven or hell. Again when serious discourse restarts I will respond God willing.

  15. The Red House stands as a reminder of what happened 25 years ago. It reflects the scars inflicted on our society and mirrors the wounds that haven’t healed.

  16. The Auditor General’s Report that they used to jam the door in the Red House was still in the same spot 2 years ago when they started work to repair and refurbish the Red House. The bullet holes are still all over the Chamber.

  17. they do not f*cking care!

    their demons do not only exist in carapo. They are the proxies of a greater evil at #1 mucurapo road.

  18. We must pay him when.he never made any restitution for the damage suffered by POS? POS looked like Beirut after the coup!!

  19. Bakr excuse was that the chairman was paid xyz so he wanted similar terms since he alone knew the full facts

    And yes the Jamaat needs to exorcise their demons esp from Carapo

    My cousin was killed while driving through Carapo because somebody wanted his fren CePep contract

  20. They never promised that it wouldnt happen again….that removes the threat they want to continue pressing onto society.

    what organization do the men responsible for the violence today belong to?

  21. There was no excuse for what occurred and what has happened since. The 114 were lucky to have done what the did here. Elsewhere, death would have been sure. Instead they survived to malinger in society and spread cancerous hate, anger and fear. To destroy the lives of many more young black men. Proudly so too. The amnesty sent a message: you can do wrong things and escape with impunity. Our society has been deeply wounded and was never the same again. Yet these miscreants are shamelessly here to lecture to the rest of us and try to shout us down. Imagine, they even held a press conference today.

    Please. Save it.

    If you have evidence, why didn’t all of you go to the COI? Why did Yasin Abu Bakr refuse to attend? Why the disgusting and distasteful press conferences around the anniversary of July 27, 1990? Have you all no respect or consideration for those who lost their lives through your illegal and immoral acts? For the nation you hurt? Can’t you at least apologize?

  22. And not understanding that lack of remorse provides little comfort that previous behaviour will never be repeated.

  23. Because to the Jamaat Al muslimeen, violence, threatening behaviour and thuggery is the order of the day.

  24. Yet still, no remorse for traumatizing innocent citizens and overthrowing democracy and the rule of law. No remorse for the deaths that occurred as a result of violence visited upon our nation. None.

  25. And of course people would do anything to get you to stop pointing guns and threatening their lives! they are human!

    Did you offer Leo Des Vignes amnesty?

  26. because killing them all would have sealed your fates and expose you even further as the cowards you were.

  27. Just enlighten me please. I have no potshots to take.

  28. As an admittance of guilt by the NAR politicians held hostage and a means for them to end it. Why did the jamaat agree to the terms of the Amnesty instead of killing them all as the murderers you call us? After you answer I will enlighten you. Go ahead take your potshots
    Throw your sticks and let it turn into snakes

  29. The Amnesty was a suggestion of the late Selwyn Richardson

  30. Again pure ignorance on the facts of matters surrounding the jamaat legal battles with the state prior to July 27 1990. The battles with the police regarding our Anti Drug campaign where we forcefully Citizen arrested drug pushers and attacked the cocaine trade on the streets. Plus the social conditions that existed in the society at the time with people like SOPO on the streets. ( I bet have of you do not have a clue who SOPO was) . The nature of Islam as a theory of liberation are just a few of the factors to through in the pot that boiled over.

  31. Not only not newsworthy, The victims seem to have been almost written out of the story. This was without a doubt the single biggest event in the nation’s history after the black power attempted revo, and the 25 anniversary is a couple days away and silence. Speaks volumes.

  32. Why nobody talking about the refusal by Robinson and co to obey the court order tat ruled in favor of the Jamaat
    Why is it that the NAR so hated the Jamaat?

  33. The amnesty was upheld as legal by he privy council

  34. I don’t think it strange that we don’t hear from them. I don’t know what avenues are open for ordinary folk to get information to the public. Such things tend not to be deemed newsworthy after so long.

  35. Os there a day of commemoration and/or a monument?

  36. Has there ever been a support group for the relatives of the 1990 dead, their families, the injured? I wonder what happened to them? Do they talk? are they afraid to talk? have they just faded away and suffer silently? a bit strange.

  37. I think that proscription is in order.

  38. Jamela Khan I’m referring to the statements from Jamaal and also speaking in general.
    I haven’t got any proof of persecution. But I believe we should be wary if any group of people feel that way.
    And I think it can be in our long term interest to listen and, if necessary, empathize. And if possible assist. If the grievances are justified or the feeling of prosecution is strong enough.

  39. And, whomsoever was higher up, to whom fingers should be pointed, did not actually pick up guns and terrify a parliament, shoot at police officers etc. And is it that some bodies were holding guns to their heads to force those acts. The Imam is too intelligent for that. So, I am not sure what the quote above is about.

    Why is no one saying what this is all about. Why the secrecy? Why leave a kind of mysterious thingy hangin over our heads for 25 years?
    “” there are things that you do not know and would cringe to know.””

  40. Lasana perhaps you might talk a bit more of ‘feelings of alienation”
    And BTW , do other alienated groups acquire large tracts of prime property easily?
    What alienation exactly are you talking about that leads to the attempt to overthrow a democratically elected govt and to shoot at a PM?
    I won’t mention the aftermath. Just trying to understand who has first dibs on alienation….and what level is required to start a treasonous act.

    OK all that may be done wiht but in light of all that, how can it be justifiable today? Shouldn’t the talk be instead: Thank goodness ( or name of any god) we have a democratic society which freed us. WE were even allowed ot buy back our land. In some countries we might have been forbidden to do so.
    WE even have legimate rights to quarrying which brings in good income so people should not impy we are enforcers etc. And who says we are not reforesting as part of our sustainable development practices?

    How much suffering was there? Something like Mandela…27 years? Breaking rocks on a bleak outpost?

    What exactly is the beef, halal or otherwise, that is drawing all this sympathy and support?

    I wondered if we are showing any support for the security services which had to deal with them in the past ….

  41. I might be mistaken but someone quoted from a court decision on the matter. There might be not statute of limitation but you would probably still need new evidence.

  42. There is only a statute of limitations on the Trinidadian will.

  43. There is no statute of limitations on murder nor treason.

  44. I agree with you Kala Ramnath. But I’m forced to accept the court’s decision anyway. All I ever ask for is that people we suspect to have broken the law are made to answer for it in court.
    But when the court rules, what else can we do?
    Steven Mawer, didn’t the court say it would be unjust to retry the men after a long gap in time?

  45. Lasana, I think you have just zeroed in on the boil that was never lanced: a general disbelief that these folks are able to walk free and tall while a guywith a spliff of ganja can get banged up in jail for 2 yrs. In other words, a sense that justice was never really served for the victims or indeed, the country. It may not sound fair to the Muslimeen that the rest of the country hasn;t moved on, but the fact that we spent the better part of the day following this discussion and the tone of the responses is just one bit of evidence of this fact. The old idea of justice ‘seeming’ to be done, never really happened.

  46. That subsequent governments have not utilized the leave to prosecute secured by the rejection of the illegally obtained amnesty is a testament to the lack of political will where it counts.

  47. Steven Mawer, why shouldn’t they be allowed to work and have families and gather wealth if they were freed by the courts?
    We can’t accuse them of abusing the law and then ourselves abuse the law for revenge.

  48. I might be wrong, but I don’t get the feeling that contrition, apologies to the families, and yes, even compensation for their losses are things that the group might be willing to consider. ‘Those who refuse to learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat it’ does sound awfully like 25yrs ago. As Kyon says, surely we can challenge govts peacefully. Form your party. Go to the people. Educate the youth to make productive changes in their own communities, in their own lives. Gain peoples’ respect. And our govts too should be moving on from courting thugs and badjohns when it suits them to actively and sensibly addressing the issues that make people angry enough to want to destroy other peoples’ lives and their own. There is nothing positive or edifying about that. Name-checking God regularly – and this goes for all religions – doesn’t really address the difficult issues that we need to address within ourselves.

  49. While the maggots feasted on the corpses of the innocent, or the breeze grew thicker with their ashes, former insurrectionists and violent conspirators grew rich in both money and influence, were able to secure many government contracts to earn, start families and spread their nonchalance to the mayhem they planned and executed.

    THIS is even greater a crime than the treason in itself. This is the crime that our country and its leaders are all guilty of.

  50. The Jamaat need to come clean on those associated with it who have been involved in organized crime
    From the kidnappings to the LifeSport murders

  51. It was more than a property dispute
    In no way am I saying armed revolt Is permissible
    But if we rem the Jamaat were not the first to have armed revolt in this country

  52. I have read the justifications and what is clear is that the insurrectionists feel absolutley NO REGRET for their actions and the loss of life that ensued.

    A property dispute can NEVER equate to, nor be proportional to the armed response aimed at the destabilization and destruction of the land, and 24 people who although they had no direct connection to the “oppression,” felt the full brunt of the reaction and as a result, were left to broken families, hearts and tarnished memories.

    The subsequent political prostitution, growth of the organization as a safe harbour for criminals and those in need of criminal “muscle” is proof as to the REAL nature of the organization in question, masquerading with the facade of religion while branding all of those opposed to their continued criminal existence as bigots, racists and oppressors.

  53. If political govts in TT can give illegal immigrants amnesty and give them rights to squatting land why was the Jamaat marginalised??

  54. “In mid-1986 in Trinidad, officials of the NAR met with several of us (Ravi Dev, Vassan Ramracha, Baytoram Ramharack, Vishnu Bisram, T. Depoo, etc.) in Guyana and in Trinidad and requested our financial assistance for the election campaign. We agreed to assist the NAR in exchange for support for the struggle to liberate Guyana from the Hoyte (PNC) dictatorship. The NAR leadership committed to assisting us in our Guyana struggle, and we delivered funding to the party. Some of us, Vassan and myself, among others, also campaigned for the party in Trinidad to help it win. And win it did with a landslide 33-3 majority.
    The NAR granted amnesty to illegal Guyanese and immigrants from other territories, “

  55. Whatever your beliefs, kudos to all posters on this topic for debating this emotional subject without resorting to abuse. It would be easy to cuss and ridicule each other, but it’s good to see a subjective discussion and it is an indication of the maturity of democracy in T&T, unfortunately not always displayed by our politicians.

  56. The idea that a govt can use tax dollars to give illegal Guyanese immigrants land for votes and then badger and victimize citizens with armed forces is madness

  57. Exactly Alana Morton 1990 was and will always be about their belief in their right to 1 Mucurapo Road….nothing more; nothing less

  58. It was more than that alana
    I’ve seen Pnm activists cry for less

  59. A sour land dispute equates to saving TnT? No eh…

  60. However I believe this 5 yr election cycle is holding our country hostage
    We need to be able to peacefully remove govts and challenge their decisions that impact on us negatively or only favor small narrow groups

  61. Gd point Ulerie about The imam owning ten but complaining about mucurapo road

  62. Radanfah Abu Bakr is a former Trinidad and Tobago national football team youth captain and on the current senior team.
    If the Warriors qualify for the next World Cup, the precedent would be that he will be eligible for a national award.

  63. I don’t think anybody should be denied the opportunity to play a positive role in their country’s development. I think however, there may be disagreement over what constitutes a positive role and that’s where we need to find national consensus.

  64. Fuad is a very promising young leader who has chosen the part of politics and his political thought pattern is a work in progress and still emerging. He would have been a victim since he was months old throughout his growing years of police brutality. Ridiculous searches even in his and his siblings diapers. He has seen must injustice done against his father. His family and his Muslim brothers and sisters. Amidst all this he has refused to be bitter but show good character and a determination to contribute to TT. His spirit of resistance is deeply embedded in Fuad as it is in the thousands of muslimeen children who have settled into society at every single level. Those who think we will be denied an opportunity to play a positive role in our country’s development think again. Those who feel they can imprison or kill a man or a leader and kill this spirit think again. Trust me is generation to generation. Education, sports, culture, the military excuse my boldness when I say that we will not be denied. This country belongs to us just as it belongs to you. Just as it belongs to all the people from China and the Middle East to settling here now. 1990 has its lessons for all of us with it, the pain and hurt of each ones personal experiences. Again those who refuse to learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat it.

  65. I for one really appreciate this discussion. Also the fact that we were able to hear Jamaal’s views. I met Mr. Kala Aki Bua a few times in the panyard but that is not a conversation I would have raised with him. One thing is certain he has his convictions. I don’t think there’s anything we can say here that will convince him that those actions taken 25 years ago were not warranted. Sadly the effects of those 5 days are still being felt in our country today. We lost our innocence on that day. Even now when this PP government does their crap (like arrest Abu Bakr for spurious reasons) I think back on that Friday evening with real actual fear. What if something like that happend again? Where would my children be? Will I be able to get to them? How would my 86 year old mother be in Belmont. This is one of the legacies of 1990. Might seem like irrational fears but for those of us who remember…who lived through those days..the fear will always be with us.

    My older sister told us that night she was round the savannah and shouting to total strangers to go home..the country was under attack! Things like that will stay in my memory till I die.

    Like I said nothing we say will convince the Jamaat otherwise. Similarly nothing they say will convince me their cause was just and their methods appropriate.

  66. Handsome with a great big open smile and I bet charismatic and entirely likeable. Right? So is the Imam. Lots of charisma, really quite likeable. But let’s not forget the image of that gentleman ferociously shouting “zakat” at his congregation and promising retribution to Muslims who weren’t paying it. Fuad isn’t saying anything to contradict the justifications his father has always used. Strikes me as the same fundamentalist khaki pants. 25 years on and there is still not even an expression of at least regret that innocent lives were lost. Not even a consideration of how the coup itself contributed to the current state of affairs. Delusional at best.

  67. Vernal Damion Cadogan, I’m not one to judge ppl prior to their actions. I am no perfect person. I mean I never tried to overthrow a government and hold a country hostage for five days but I’m no angel or saint. For me, moving forward from this event requires an apology from the Imam. If that ever comes then I can decide if it’s genuine or not. But until then I’m still stuck.

  68. Nah
    No insincere apologies, those only dishonor the deceased!

  69. The apology needs to come from the leader of the organization as leaders tend to be the ones who call the shots. Anything less gives life to the viewpoint that the Jamaat may not be sorry for the attempted coup and thus may be willing to engage a similar course of action in the future. Which obviously perpetuates, if not amplifies, mistrust of the group among wider society.

  70. I appreciate your taking the time to inform me as well as Jamaal’s apology, but my issue isn’t with Shabazz but rather Fuad’s arrogance.

  71. Again your responses are full of emotion and that same democratic right does not permit you to speak on behalf of 1.3 million people. Further I agree the act of insurrection was not supported by the populist. But it is not right to say that we sought to set up a Muslim fundamentalist Govt. That is rubber talk my boy. What is the proof that we were about to do that when we signed a document to the contrary called the Heads of Agreement. We had the upper hand at that moment. Further thank God that the Muslimeen or any other group be it religious or political who may face political oppression have a God to depend on rather than some of the commentators. Hate the jamaat but we prefer to stand up for justice at all costs because our God is the Creator the One God. We do not bow to the oppression of men. The Quran says Fight them until there is no more oppression. Consequently it’s a life long fight. But it is not always about guns. Again if the state who occupied our land in 1989 came with snocones. I would have fought them with a cup of shave ice. Sigh

  72. to all the supporters of the oppressed Yasin Abu Bakr and the other members of the Jammat al Muslimeen…when will this debt be paid? Some of us do not own one piece of property but the imam owns 10….can anyone answer that question please?

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,34399.html

  73. If it is the police, as mentioned, who were perpetrating terrorism (against this supposedly marginalised group – although I would like to see evidence of exactly what this marginalisation is/was),…how is it that this group of insurrectionists decided to take parliament and a TV station instead of the Police HQ? Don’t get me wrong, I am completely against the violence and madness that was perpetrated on that day, but just trying to understand their crazy logic…and there is the claim that they were being victimised with guns by the police (in this way, they try to justify their use of guns)…yet they decide to storm parliament and a TV station where there are not that many police….probably none of the ones who would have been the victimisers…so what was the point, other than to strike fear into the hearts of all the citizenry – because that was what the TV station was for…right? And it’s not like they didn’t have good examples of peaceful protest to follow…yet they chose violence and wanted to take over the democratically elected government (believe me alot of people wanted them out, but few would think to attempt to overthrow them)…but I guess people who do not appreciate peace will always choose war and oppression. Ironic – they claim to have felt oppressed…so they perpetrated oppression on the rest of us, as a way to help their cause…really …brilliant…not so much….and only one person (if I read correctly) mentioned the particular piece of land that had been the contentious issue….interesting… Also, the fact that they were tried in a court but did not have to pay restitution is just one example of how our justice system has failed us, for whatever reason…because they should have been made to pay for the damage they did….but you’re not going to find me banding together with people like Nicole and storming parliament because things didn’t go the way we wanted…because that is not the way in a democracy…we have poor systems but there are ways to protest without harming anyone…and some people need to acknowledge that the July 27th travesty was unnecessary in its violence and the group responsible for it needs to apologise first if they expect to be taken seriously. The Europeans are not here (so we cannot ask them to apologise) but you are still here and expecting to be forgiven for something that was an attack on the entire population, yet not apologising for the pain that was inflicted on the innocent people whom you probably just view as collateral damage – except we were not in a war. Start with an apology. Stop thinking that violence is ever a solution…it’s always a bigger problem. If you had chosen peaceful protest, consider that even those not in your group would have supported that.

  74. Otancia Noel

    with all due respect I respect everyone’s views, ideas and comments but let me say that if you plural think the coup was just about a piece of land and a band of misfits then you are far far far of the marker. And for all those who want to call names like murderers, hooligans, misfits, mad, trecherous I am sorry to disappoint you but you need to be pointing fingers and calling names way above the head of Yasin and his bunch of deranged madmen because there are things that you do not know and would cringe to know. i am not in support of the coup attempt but this is bigger than the immediate players of 114 murderers as you put it. violence is not the answer I agree it never was but have you ever been dragged from your bed at three in the morning stripped made to squat and a police man or woman sticks his fingers up your private areas, have you ever sat and look at a police constable rip the pamper from your child’s butt and search that child’s cavaties. some people react badly to abuse and the end results is anarchy in the land but again who are the ones respomsible for the anarchy it is not only the ones who picked up the guns the truth needs to be told. but who knows the truth will not tell it because it would mean pointing fingers at themselves and at those above their heads. things are not always what we perceive it to be this is all that I am saying. yes I grew up on jamaat I was there from the age of four, I am now forty and I do not agree with the Imam on many things nor do I think that knocking people with gun butts can solve problems but I know there is always two sides to a coin

  75. I personally believe that the whole thing is a skit being played out. There are some things in the background that people don’t know.

  76. I’ve lived for a while in Senegal and Mali and know that region well. The vast majority of the population of both countries are Muslims. West African islam is v moderate and as far removed from Wahhabism, Salafism whatever purist form one can think of, as one can imagine. Both countries also happen to be extremely poor. Most people live on a dollar a day. Ripe for revolution, one would think. But Senegalese and Malians for the most part are repulsed by extremism. The jihadists have struggled to gain any traction there. People love their music, their own African islamic saints, their indigenous socio-cultural networks, not something imposed from outside. Look at the recent experience with the Islamists in Mali. All they managed to do was cause enormous death, suffering,chaos, loss of livelihoods, misery. All this to say that there are different views on why revolutions can be triggered in some places and not others, in spite of poverty and social injustices.

  77. The Westminster system may be a confrontational/colonial hangover system, we may have rampant corruption, rural/urban socio-economic neglect, and yes, we may not have a heck of a lot to show, governance-wise, for most of our 50+ years of oil economy development. Yes, there is ample room to question our systems. But to think that the Imam and his tiny religious group were going to shepherd us into some shangri-la of peace, joy and wahhabism is a bit of a stretch too far for the average Trini. Lots of nnocent people died because of this delusion. There are other ways to go about this without innocent people losing their lives and their loved ones still not having closure because of this self-appointed group of saviours.

  78. Do you know what I would love someone to tell me? What was the end game? Was it for 114 individuals to remove the democratically elected government and have 1.3 million of us follow their rule under the gun or else? Would this small group of oppressed people go from being oppressed to oppressors? I would really love to hear what the end game was because I can GUARANTEE you. The only way we were All going to submit to their rule would have been by force and under the gun

  79. And for the sake of clarity I more than willing to take any form of questioning if the lovers of democracy wishes to ask re the muslimeen. Trust me I am an expert in muslimeen affairs and I can be very objective on the good and bad actions of the group. The muslimeen are by no way a group of angels that has been devoid of mistakes. However we have been used as a scapegoat by many especially the blind followers of politicians. And I have seen politicians castigate the jamaat yet in one particular election I saw the muslimeen work for every political party that contested the elections. Ask me

  80. Ahhh
    Finally something we can agree on Jamaal, the answer you are looking for is called a Civil Liberties Union and it is a prominent feature of every enlightened democracy on the planet (which is why Bananistan has none).
    https://www.aclu.org/about/aclu-history

  81. This is pointless, in every democracy one will find these fringe groups with extreme ideologies, whether they be based on religion, politics, ethnicity, nationalism or a combination of them all what they all have in common is this self righteous mentality used to justify their extremist behavior and they cannot be reasoned with which is why they all remain for the most part on the fringes of their respective societies!

  82. A democratic system cannot exist just based on paper without a people a group an individual striving to ensure its implementation. How do we participate in this governance by dipping our finger in ink every five years? What are our recourse in this democracy when we see corruption rampant and politicians use constitutional paper to extradite Lance Small and then abuse it to save Steve and Ish. This West Minister System we adopted was handed down from a master who wanted to go back to Europe but ensure his interests was served. Until we as a Caribbean people start rethinking what is democracy then continue to dip your finger for change.

  83. Sorry but this was no populist movement with broad support from the masses. How come Trinbagonians were not flooding the streets in support of this coup, one wonders. Most were extremely traumatised by the event. To cast this as some populist cause does a disservice to the objective facts on the ground. This was a tiny religious minority, allegedly funded by dubious sources, trying to exploit the fact that the govt was wracked by infighting amongst factions. Yes there was and is urban poverty and injustice doled out to the poor. But seriously, this idea that we were in the midst of some Che-influenced revolutionary social justice movement from below is a bit of a joke.

  84. Who told you our existence was not threatened Vernal? This is the beauty of social media one can vent their views based on their feelings and what you know, your fact. But in this case I can speak from having been involved and I can speak with certainty that preemption is an important aspect of your life preservation. If someone takes your head and immerse it in water at the point that you can’t breathe no matter how democratic you are you will resist. That was the muslimeen aspect of 1990. The other aspect of the social conditions prevailing the emergence of SOPO the Summit of People’s Organization was another. I have to again smile not at anyone’s viewpoint but your lack of information that propels your commentary on both the muslimeen. It begs the question if the Muslimeen had a singular agenda why would one of the conditions for the Heads of Agreement be – A broad based interim Govt of reps from all the major religious and trade union groups in the country. And another being free and fair elections in 90 days. So again if your comments are based on emotion I cannot fault you this is what social media is about. Venting, however if it is based on facts you need more information. And oh lovely this talk about democracy I coming back at you with that.

  85. There were other options, their situation may have perhaps been dire but their existence wasn’t threatened and innocent people needn’t had died. This wasn’t an insurrection against a form of government, this was an insurrection against the policies of a particular administration under a democratic constitution that already provided an avenue for changing unwanted administrations peacefully.

    I understand that the Jamaat has been marginalized, but part of that marginalization was and is their own doing which is why now (and then) so many of it’s members subscribe to this warped perception of reality and history………..typical cult-like behavior.

  86. Save Trini. Pleaseeee. He must be mad

  87. Because I am not convinced that there was no other option available. I don’t think it was a battle they could have been won. And I don’t think they did win.
    But I do appreciate that there was a grievance and that they felt marginalized and isolated.
    So I’m considering what we can do in the future to help avoid such situations. But I’m not calling them heroes for their actions.

  88. What’s the diff between two armed rebellion to overthrow rulers?

  89. I won’t go as far as to compare the insurrection to an Independence Day moment.

  90. Europe history is filled with blood
    Their freedoms came at a price.

  91. Too often I read of societies begging for freedom and then one group is oppressed by that new found freedom

    Animal farm is not fiction people

  92. When we ignore the feelings of alienation from any group of society, we are on dangerous ground.
    I feel that is a lesson we can take away from July 27.
    If people think they have no stake in our society and that nobody cares, then they won’t care about our society.
    I’m not talking about the Jamaat here. It can be any group. Whether bound by race, location, culture or religion.
    Or even party.

  93. Well clearly from this conversation it looks like the attempted coup of 1990 was retaliation for the oppression suffered by the Jamaat. Yes it was a recession and things were hard. I was a scrunting uwi student who had to work and scrape to pay my cess fees. The NAR govt was unfortunate to be governing in a time of hardship. But I think generally people accepted the circumstances.

    Nobody asked for an insurrection and nobody asked or appreciated the Jamaat attempt to overthrow an elected government.

    Living in Belmont we heard the incessant gunshots and we were all scared. And to think this was all about a piece of land and the oppression felt by a small segment of the population .

  94. Read on the unsolved murder of Abdul Kareem

  95. It seems that people don’t know the REAL reason why Abu Bakr ever did what he did…. I pity Trinidad and Tobago and their forgetfullness.

  96. Treason…Crimes against the State…..and yet they want support???

  97. Not one single thing about July 27th 1990 was about Trinidad and Tobago. So why would I support a group that rose up and took arms against the state to serve their own means?!

  98. Worthless exercise. In any other presumptively developed or “developing” country that traitorous dog wouldn’t have lived to see another opportunity to bite the hand that fed him.

  99. All over the world armed uprisings are supported against oppression
    Usa the great democracy was born from an uprising based on the aim to take the indigenous land that was protected by the British treaty

    I don’t see Washington being vilified

    The fact that the population didn’t stand up with the Jamaat before the coup happened and say no Robbie is a tragedy

    • Foolish talk… the colonist under King George had no other means of redress, none. Not real, not imagined. The Muslimeen traitors had options, they may not have been expedient options for them, but they had options.

  100. You were a youth but I was not and I’m not easily swayed by shiny things and fast talkers.

  101. Clearly none of you were in the kitchen and I have to smile and thank God that the spirit of resistance that he has put in the jamaat makes it impossible for politicians to treat with people in a manner in which they did with us. When yu see resistance groups or people all over the world rise up their inability to portray their side of the story puts them at a disadvantage with the armchair oh please intellectuals. I was a youth then and a man now with a greater sense of purpose to understand that it’s easy to sit and cast aspersions about Abu Bakr. But I know that brother and I know the human in him and the beast in him and he stand tall as a leader and a man among men.

  102. Imagine if every group of people who genuinely believed themselves to be oppressed responded in the way the Jamaat did, where would the world be, where.

    Look here eh…………they could save that foolish and dangerous talk for the ignorant and gullible, not me, I don’t indulge!

  103. Yuh know what? Doh even bother to answer because people have a way of spouting all kinds of articulate madness to justify their criminality.

    What, the Jamaat al Muslimeen had and have some sort of monopoly on oppression that justifies murder, insurrection, treason, anarchy?
    Spare me……please, that model does not work.

    There is oppression all over the globe, it is sadly human nature, but violence is and has never been the answer because it only perpetuates a cycle of further opposition and violence.

    There are numerous examples throughout history of nonviolent means of overcoming oppression, so why choose violence?

  104. The entire country was disgruntled with the leadership and the seemingly unilateral way decisions were being made after campaign promises of change much like we are now. But we are a democracy and the fact that only 114 citizens saw it fit to rise up with NO support from any other sector of the population besides their membership should tell them something. But they have maintained and still maintained to this day that they were justified in rising up ms taking arms against the democratically elected government. Even going so far as to use excuses about Robinson refusing a container of medicine they procured when people could not get medicine in the hospital. When at the end of the day it was always and will always be about that land at 1 Mucurapo Road that they wee squatting on.

    • Well said! is not just 1 Mucurapo Road they squatting on, is all of Trinidad they squatting on… or should I say “over”… squatting over we and telling we is ice cream falling on we head.

  105. I was 13 years old at the time, Jamaal Shabazz. So I really can’t say that I know everything that was in play. So I accept the provocation might have been worse than I imagined.
    You were a young man too then Jamaal. I don’t see how there could have ever been a peaceful long term solution to that action.
    I suspect one lesson in this is allowing people to be moved towards the fringes of society. That is a dangerous thing.
    I never like it when people speak about Laventille and other depressed areas as though they are second class citizens and laugh when Johnny Abraham shoots them down like birds.
    I don’t agree with what happened on July 27. But I’m against people being bullied.

  106. What happen we talking I hope I do not come across aggressive because I not vex. I open to other people’s views

  107. Jamaal Shabazz, I have never thought anybody in the Jamaat was mad. I have always thought that you all felt justified in your action. Your comment about being sorry for loss of lives is the first of its kind that I have heard from a senior member of the Jamaat. Maybe I missed others like it that have come before.

  108. In terms of lives that were lost we are all sorry for this and we also incurred losses prior to during and post 1990. We do not gloat or beat our chest for 1990. But ask why teachers. Businessmen, masons carpenters. Sports people would resort to an act of insurrection as in 1990. The easy way out is to say we are mad people. One who really care about 1.3 million people should look deeper as to cause and effects with a view for it not to happen again.

  109. Nicole yu cannot talk for 1.3 million people you could talk for you and probably your circle. If the NAR was so justified with their oppression against the jamaat why the population send them to oblivion at the very next polls?

    • A ridiculous assertion which betrays your own limited understanding. The NAR is a political party… they held power in government and thus were only temporal occupiers of that office. The people used the method made available to them by the Constitution of our land, the same land you and your cohort of murders defiled… continue to defile with your very presence. The people used the ballot to rid themselves of the NAR. This is no vindication of the crime committed by you scabrous dogs… they voted the NAR out, they didn’t usurp the democratic process . 25 years later and difference is still lost on you. Would that Guyana would keep you and lose you somewhere in the Amazon.

  110. First off all I cannot vex with anyone who have their views because I have my views. Secondly if Fuad gets involved in the political process I support him and he needs not feel apprehensive that 1990 will be held against him. Third if the police then and authorities then was fighting us with snocones we would have gotten some shave ice and pelt back at them. But they used guns and brutality and when the court told them get off our land. The Army and Police say they do not work with the Courts they work with the politicians, basically. When we remain quiet because our society or our status not affected we feel that aloofness will save us from when God choose to balance the scales. And is men God does use to stand up against oppression to check the Oppressor. You should know that Lasana you fight the oppressors in football. If men fighting me with a computer I could fight with a computer. But if a man pelting stone I must pelt a cup of ice cream at him? And I not thinned skin.

  111. The injustice perpetrated on 1.3 million of us by 114 citizens of this country will NEVER be forgotten and NEVER be forgiven. Who vex lorse

  112. I have no doubt the Jamaat was harassed etc back in the day as Islamophobia was a problem then and continues to be a problem today. Having said that however, my point remains that regardless of motive, when injury happens, the perpetrator should say sorry. People lost loved ones in the attempted coup and the country remains scarred. As for European Masters offering an apology, none of those individuals are alive anymore. Is there more that the world can do to get us all on equal footing? Obviously. But because one group of people doesn’t apologize, it doesn’t mean that nobody else should. That’s like telling me a man who rapes me should offer no apology because my father who molested me didn’t before he died.

  113. Jamaal Shabazz, I can’t lecture you. But we can’t all solve problems via the gun. And it didn’t work anyway. Even if it had, I don’t know that it would have been a long term solution.
    Is Fuad Abu Bakr’s delve into politics an acceptance that there is better way than arms?

  114. Jamaal… why was the Jamaat, a small segment of the Muslim Community tormented & oppressed? And why not lean on a political party for just dues instead of resorting to arms?

  115. Let’s start the apology from the European Masters who brought us here and made us slaves and tricked us into becoming indentured laborers. Our life is based on fighting oppression the Creator has chosen this for us because the Imam has not been an aggressor in none of his legal battles. But these things serve to strengthen us to pass down our spirit of resistance from generation to generation. And may our Creator put in the muslimeen that desire to stand up for justice against all odds until the day of judgement. We must never bow to injustice nor oppression

  116. None of you were privy to the harassment the breaches of the law by the state and abdication of the duties of the country’ s legal arm to protect a small group. And when by the right given by our Creator to defend ourselves was exercised all you lovers of democracy suddenly found your tongues. Why was the voice of democracy silent prior to 1990 when the jamaat was tormented and oppressed. I live this you all could read about this I live this. The Imam has become the easy point of reference to blame for criminal activity for a country that does not know their elbow from their chin how to deal with this criminal youth that is on a rampage.

    • You need tuh shut yuh treacherous…mouth… about “right given the Creator. The only right deserving of you and your collective bunch of traitors is the long end of a short rope.

  117. We all know the Imam past but revenge and victimisation won’t change history,he was tried and freed in our courts that being said it’s an example where consequences seem to escape certain persons deviant actions.Signalling out one person and not the others is just hypocritical

  118. I respect Fuad for being open & entering the democratic process. Unfortunately I can never buy the ideal of a coup being justified when we live in democratic country. What was the future plan? Fresh elections? A new economic policy? An islamic state? Why not work on strengthening the weak institutions for the benefit of all citizens and generations to come?

  119. Earl Best

    It is a matter of record, Chabeth, that during the CoE into July 27 1990 two Jamaat members offered public apologies for what had happened. One of them was Kala Aki-Bua and the other was Jamaal Shabazz. I don’t know why Jamaal has not said so but I think we should be very clear on that. Almost a year ago, I wrote a piece right here on Wired868 in which I mentioned the apologies, lamenting the fact that there had been only two. Regrettably, most Jamaat members I have spoken to share Fuad defiant attitude, feeling that there is nothing to apologise for. That is a position with which I find it very hard to sympathise.

  120. is 25 yrs abu suppose to release his “facts”..eveb Warner is a better gran charge

  121. I guess the relatives of the people his father murdered should feel honored?

  122. I sorry, I get vex about halfway through. He should have been asked harder questions. On the one hand he is hiding behind “I was only four so I can´t say” and on the other making blanket statements about how his father acted for the good of the people and was so self-sacrificing.etc. I would have asked him to specifically say how and why it was the good of the people. And then he goes on to criticize people who have opinions without knowing the facts. He can´t have it both ways.

  123. and I blame no one else but POLITICIANS for empowering this group….working with them to win elections…giving them URP and other contracts.. doh talk bout the MILLIONS in illegal quarrying in Valencia… and not ah man dear try stop them…a true mickey mouse society

    • I would agree but would include the media for taking him at his own estimation. So if anybody call themselves “imam” and claim to be various things, the media (hopefully present company excepted) call them the same and treat them like if they are legitimate commentators and arbiters. If I decide I am a religious leader tomorrow and dress up in some costume I can attack anybody who questions me as being anti-religious and cry discrimination and the media will play by my definition of myself.

    • Remember our pol leaders have always fostered cosy relationships with religious groupings for obvious reasons. They are loath to criticise them. Good journalism is still a rare find in TT, still so amateurish with a few notable exceptions. So yeh, that can’t really help matters. If it was Paxman, well, you can imagine. Don’t discount the time factor. I really hope we have more books on 1990. We cannot afford that trauma to be sanitised because people were not born yet, or are too young to remember.

  124. timothy mc vae son cud be better than messi yuh think he wil ever be allowed to represent the US at football?…

  125. Lasana Liburd you better give me a cuss quota for this post or better yet block me from seeing it because I’m telling you I feel a bout of profanity coming on!

  126. its one thing the murderous thugs got away..its another for them to rub in our face that they made a “sacrifice”
    shooting the duly elected PM was a sacrifice?
    killing an MP a sacrifice?
    others dying a sacrifice?..
    BIG FAT WET STEUPS

  127. I suppose with 34 innocent peoples’ deaths, numerous injuries, the torture of the then PM and other ministers, the attempted overthrow of a dem elected govt, the collective national trauma etc are still raw in a nation only 50-something yrs old, sane and rational people might beg to disagree with his interpretation of ‘acting to save T&T”. He might be affable and a jolly nice chap, but let’s not have selective amnesia here. This is separate and apart from speculation about perceived harassment from the police and more recent events relating to the Jamaat.

  128. Vernal Damion Cadogan, I do agree that for Fuad to aspire to political office, I feel it important that he condemn his father’s attempt to overthrow a democratically elected Government.
    There is a contradiction there and it is only right that intelligent people ask for clarity.

  129. And Kamla and the UNC will persist because right thinking ppl wont take an active stance.

  130. In the case of Abu Bakr what failed were our laws. In the case of Kamla what has failed is the citizenry….huuuuuge difference.

  131. This is as surreal as Baby Doc’s return to Haiti!

  132. I don’t know who is worse, Abu Bakr or the Persad-Bissessar administration.
    Each is equally worthy of condemnation!

  133. Abu Bakr is no martyr to me.

  134. Lasana Liburd you haven’t yet understood that the proletariate is misguided as to the true nature of democracy?

    That’s why Abu Bakr can be alive and free today, that’s why his son can look is in the face and portray his father as a national martyr and that’s why we could have a government like the Persad-Bissessar administration.

    I wanna vomit right now!

  135. Some people say the Police should have a right to detain Yasin Abu Bakr every other month if they feel like it. I understand the anger. And I see the irony in them asking for protection from the courts.
    But I still cannot give in to that feeling. They deserve their rights too.

    • the state took its best shot at Abu. so far the man has not just stayed out of jail, but won some considerable matters in the court as well.
      of course, he will never live down 1990, but a man must ask: how much due is due when you paying your due?

    • Lasana I wouldn’t say they “deserve” their rights but rather than they are entitled to them. That is the basis of our legal system, entitlement to certain rights whether you deserve them or not.

    • And this is a perfect case of where, like you, I not sure if he deserves them but he is entitled to them and we have to defend that.

  136. Rhodes you more than most know that I have strongly condemned the recent detention of Abu Bakr, but I cannot sit here and read the condemnations of a government regardless of how deserving by a man who cannot also at least equally condemn the actions of the Jamaat and Abu Bakr in 1990.

    Nah…….I kyah do dat!

  137. We can agree on the current arrest Rhoda. Not so sure about anybody being demonised except Dr. Rowley by the UNC. Lol

  138. I cannot fathom how an amnesty written under duress with the country at ransom was upheld. Not the first time a Privy Council ruling was rubbish.

    • Well, we should leave the Privy Council. I think we should make the CCJ our highest form of appeal. But, ironically, I feel we have to respect the law where the Imam is concerned.

    • did the Imam ask for that? Or did someone else decide to stick that in there?

    • Kendall Tull, a response to you was made on the website:
      ““I cannot fathom how an amnesty written under duress with the country at ransom was upheld. Not the first time a Privy Council ruling was rubbish.” Kendall Tull, the Privy Council found that the amnesty was INVALID but determined that it would be oppressive and an abuse of the process to re-arrest the insurgents. The real culprit was Clebert Brooks, who found that the amnesty, written, as you note, “under duress with the country at ransom,” was valid. Reference Jamaal Shabazz’s comment about “a country that does not know their elbow from their chin.”

    • Thank you Lasana Liburd, I was JUST going to write that.

  139. All I ever ask for is that people answer for their crimes to a court of law, Kendall Tull. If the court said to let him go, then I have to respect that. Even if it seemed an odd verdict.

  140. Vernal Damion Cadogan, im not excusing 1990…but the recent arrest doesnt sit well with me and this isnt the first time this govt has conveniently raised the spectre of 1990 for their benefit. Black muslims are being demonised in Trinidad. Since the SoE.

  141. Particularly when there has been loss of life. I agree with that.
    I am mixed over what appears to be harassment of his father. I feel that no citizen should be abused by the law including Yasin Abu Bakr.
    But I also note the irony in their groans about it.
    I think the Jamaat should be upfront about that contradiction of sorts when they discuss matters involving the Imam.

  142. Who said anything about blaming him?

  143. I’m sorry, but swallowing his responses is like swallowing tequila………..it doh go dong easy!

    “The man everyone loves to hate” is a murderer who took it upon himself to overthrow a democratically elected government.
    What madness I relly reading?

    This is Bananistan in true, and if we aren’t careful we’ll end up with an Emir.

  144. We blaming Fuad for what his dad did?

  145. Steups. His father should be in jail or six feet under the ground.

  146. Regardless of intent if the outcome is a hurtful one an apology should be forthcoming. Forgiveness begins with an apology.

  147. “They have been calling for real justice for action against the real goat in this matter”
    Bess statement..lolol

  148. I have no personal problem with him. But Fuad Abu-Bakr, I must say that I have a inherent distrust of politicians. They start off on a minus and have to win me over by works and deeds.
    No exceptions.
    But, like I said, nothing personal.

  149. Earl Best

    Brian Manning, care to explain your “Stockholm Syndrome” comment? Was Fuad a hostage at some stage of the 1990 proceedings? Or are you suggesting that he was a “hostage” in his father’s house? It’s an intriguing idea…

  150. Earl Best

    Juliet, I agree wholeheartedly that he should have been asked harder questions. Or, at the very least, been challenged on the answers he gave. But I can’t agree that the media is to be blamed for calling YAB an “imam.” If a man has built a mosque on land given to him by the State and has a large active congregation, can the media reasonably argue that cuculus not monacum facit, the cowl does not make the monk? What option did the media really have?

  151. Earl Best

    “I cannot fathom how an amnesty written under duress with the country at ransom was upheld. Not the first time a Privy Council ruling was rubbish.” Kendall Tull, the Privy Council found that the amnesty was INVALID but determined that it would be oppressive and an abuse of the process to re-arrest the insurgents. The real culprit was Clebert Brooks, who found that the amnesty, written, as you note, “under duress with the country at ransom,” was valid. Reference Jamaal Shabazz’s comment about “a country that does not know their elbow from their chin.”

  152. So agree with Mr. Cadogan that this is surreal. Can’t believe that after all this time the narrative is the harassment of Abu Bakr. Someone needs to read the names of those who died, so that THEY would be remembered, so that THEIR families could feel some justice. There has never been an apology. This place is unbelievable.