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)
More from Wired868
Dear Editor: ANR Robinson inherited poisoned chalice; Abu Bakr made things much worse!

“[…] I would like Fuad [Abu Bakr] to tell the nation what other option the NAR Government had than to Read more

Fuad Abu-Bakr: The Imam put the ‘healthy fear’ of the people into T&T governments

“[…] As a result of Yasin Abu Bakr and 113 other brave men, governments had a little fear for the Read more

How will T&T remember the colourful 1990 coup character, Yasin Abu Bakr?

I so wanted to write about the theatrics and the vaudeville-type show just recently put on in Parliament by some Read more

Dear Editor: Should Trinidad and Tobago not give Abu Bakr his due: a national award of dishonour?

“[...] There is no greater example of our misapplication of the national watchword, tolerance, than the way we treat Yasin Read more

Wanted: T&T’s ‘sliding door’ moment; put handcuffs on our high-rolling criminals

Malaysia are many thousands of miles away but share many similarities with Trinidad and Tobago. They beat us to independent Read more

Griffith: 1970 mutineers were a ‘disgrace’ and T&T must stop celebrating them

“In some countries when similar acts take place, such persons are put before a firing squad, hung or tried and Read more

About Letters to the Editor

Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at Please keep your letter between 300 to 600 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation. We don't publish anonymously unless there is a good reason, such as an obvious threat of harassment or job loss.

Check Also

Soldier vs Muslimeen: Eve fires back at Shabazz, as T&T call-up Alvin Jones and Waldrop

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve has made two changes …

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.