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  • Parliament building burning during the coup in Trinidad and Tobago, July 27, 1990.

    Parliament building burning during the coup in Trinidad and Tobago, July 27, 1990. | Photo: @kalifasclyne

Published 27 July 2020
Opinion

The Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader said sorry 30 years after the failed coup in which 24 people died.

Trinidad & Tobago’s President Paula-Mae Weekes Sunday criticized the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr’s late apology for the 1990 attempted coup.

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Bakr filed an affidavit apologizing for the traumatic effects he caused three decades ago, during a coup attempt that shook the country on July 27, 1990.

That day, over 100 members of the Islamist radical group Jamaat-al-Muslimeen stormed Parliament and held hostages for several days. At least 24 people died in Port of Spain during the insurrection.

“For all the pain I caused to the nation I am sorry. Now it is time for closure,” Bakr said. “I want to heal the nation and foster national consensus.”

President Weekes mistrusts the real intentions behind Bakr's apologies, for he is facing a criminal complaint after refusing to answer a summons to testify before a Commission of Inquiry into the attempted coup.

“In a recent affidavit sworn by Yasin Abu Bakr and incidentally connected to the very Commission of Enquiry, he averred to be sorry,” Weekes said, hinting at the fact that he could be trying to challenge the complaint.

Trinidad & Tobago’s president also complained about the fact that the date has no official commemoration, and urged citizens to eschew all forms of violence.

"July 27 is an annual opportunity to be reminded of the value of our democratic freedoms and the need to ensure that such an egregious violation of our citizens’ rights and dignity can never again befall our nation,” she added.

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