Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2015 Contents A4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 28, 2015
For any T&T Guardian reporter who worked
through the failed July 27, 1990 coup attempt,
some of yesterday s events around the Port-of-
Spain Magistrates Court was deja vu, holding
certain striking parallels, as the 25th anniversary
of the 1990 episode passed into history.
The area was almost the same: The St Vin-
cent Street court block neighbouring the Red
House where the 1990 event occurred.
A few of the key players outside and inside
around the court were the same, such as
Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr,
who led the 1990 insurrection.
Moreover, the atmosphere around the court
block was a capsule replica of that around the
Red House in 1990: Tight security, high tension,
heavy police firepower, barricades prevalent, blaring
sirens and helicopters continuously overhead.
And Jamaat-affiliated people were at the centre
of the issue.
This time though, neither they (nor Bakr, who
had crossed the quarter century into part of yes-
terday s scenario) were in control. The accused
brought to court under heavy police presence were
there to face charges concerning the execution of
special state prosecutor Dana Seetahal in May 2014.
The zone in front the court, down St Vincent
Street, between Duke and Knox Streets, was a
hotbed of police from end to end. Riot gear-types.
Masked officers. Armed to the teeth (knives
along with heavy gun power). Steel helmets.
Snipers in key surrounding buildings. K-9
dogs (one heavily scratching some irritant).
Sound and fury of sirens on the ground.
Beat of helicopters constantly overhead.
Police screened and scanned court work-
ers entering the zone. People watched
from buildings and street corners around
the block. Reporters were relegated to
limits behind barriers.
And gathering all morning at various street cor-
ners were Jamaat members in Muslim garb, some
in black with red keffiyehs draped overhead. Others
were in white robes or black, and women in hijabs,
a majority in black.
Regiment officers were low profile, several officers
near an army jeep on the corner of Duke and St
Vincent Streets, where Muslimeen youths and oth-
ers stood, and also on Knox and St Vincent Streets
near the army outpost opposite the Red House.
All other cases were put off.
Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Jack Warn-
er, who arrived for his US matter, left about an
hour after when his matter was postponed, yielding
the spotlight to the Seetahal accused.
Among those, the sole female arrived in a van
and the others in several batches, escorted by a
convoy of police vehicles which drove northwards
up south-flowing St Vincent Street and backed
into the prisoners bay to offload.
As one van waited for prisoners to disembark,
a few of those in that van called out to reporters:
"Khamal Georges! media man...!" The voice harshly
complained people wouldn t "transport dogs in
America like that."
Another called the name of another TV reporter.
The voices were strong and harsh. No fear or anx-
iety. Some of the prisoners voiced protest by banging
on the van s inside walls.
Among Muslimeen members clustered on Duke
Street, Bakr, his son, Fuad, and second in command
Lorris Ballack and an elder Muslimeen, stood with
female members, including wives of the accused.
• Continues on Page A5
Deja vu on
25th year of
Do you think T&T got value for
money from hosting the CPL finals?
Time will tell if we benefitted
economically because we put out
a lot of money to host it. Maybe
we got value for money from the
publicity and the public relations but
I am not certain about the actual economic benefit.
Everything is a give and take. It will
work out eventually. I think we got
value for money in terms of the
exposure our country received from
hosting the CPL finals.
Yes, we got value for money
because many foreigners came
into our country. The vendors
and taxi drivers make some
money and the hotels and
restaurants as well. We got value because
with the weakest side we managed to pull it
off and win.
Yes, we definitely benefited when it
comes to tourism.
Yes, we got value because of tourism
and publicity. We got value for money
because hosting the CPL boosted the
morale of the people of T&T.
I believe we will benefit with respect
to tourism and the marketing of T&T
internationally. This is value for
money because it augers well for
businesses and the products that we
Maybe we got value for money in
terms of tourism. I am not sure how
else we benefitted.
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