Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Colleen Holder: My dad, ‘Mac’, and other media workers never fully recovered after 27 July 1990

Colleen Holder: My dad, ‘Mac’, and other media workers never fully recovered after 27 July 1990

“[…] Even though ‘Mac’ and his colleagues were sent for counselling by the company, he never fully recovered. I am sure the same can be said for many of the others…”

The following letter to the editor on the personal toll of the attempted coup by the Jamaat Al-Muslimeen on 27 July 1990 was submitted to Wired868 by Office of the Parliament director of corporate communications and productions and ex-TV6 news anchor Colleen Holder:

Photo: Colleen Holder and her father McDonald Holder.
(via Colleen Holder)

My father, McDonald Holder, worked at Radio Trinidad at Maraval Road for over 40 years until his death in 2006. But at six o’clock on the evening of the 27th of July 1990, his girlfriend Cheryl Yearwood went to pick him up—just when the shooting started at TTT.

He was held hostage along with several of his co-workers for four nights and three days. Two of his co-workers were shot on that first evening but survived.

Cheryl’s little red Sunny motorcar, PAP 3951, is immortalised in images of TTT at that time. It was abandoned in front of the television station when she was forced at gunpoint by the Muslimeen to take one of the injured staff members to the Port of Spain General Hospital, then ordered to return to Radio Trinidad with the other hostages.

When the Muslimeen abandoned the radio station days later, as the army moved in, the hostages all made their escape. She later suffered a nervous breakdown and left Trinidad.

My dad did not share much details about those traumatic days, except that they were not ill-treated. But it was not a bed of roses either. Another co-worker recently told me that he was standing outside Radio Trinidad when the Muslimeen arrived with their guns that evening and he was lucky to escape before they stormed the building.

Photo: Late journalist Raoul Pantin is set free by his Jamaat Al-Muslimeen captors in front of Cheryl Yearwood’s red Sunny.
(via Colleen Holder)

We know the names of those who were held hostage at the Red House and TTT, but those who were held against their will at Radio Trinidad have all but been forgotten:

  • Arthur Green
  • Cheryl Yearwood
  • Darwin Watson
  • Edison Carr
  • Emmett Hennessy (shot)
  • Harold Thompson
  • McDonald Holder
  • Michael London
  • Patrick Goodridge
  • Pius Mason (shot)
  • Sookram Ali
  • Steve Sutherland

And even though ‘Mac’ and his colleagues were sent for counselling by the company, he never fully recovered. I am sure the same can be said for many of the others. Justice has never been served for those who died or were impacted in some way during the insurrection of 1990.

Photo: McDonald Holder (second from right) and his colleagues at Radio Trinidad.
Holder was the Radio Trinidad chief technical operator.
(via Colleen Holder)

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One comment

  1. That’s Frankie Dickson and Clarence to the left of Mac. Can’t make out the other guy.

    Worked with Mac for 6 years and can’t express how much of an impact he had on me and how much respect I had for him.