Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 21st 2013 Contents A8
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Yasin Abu Bakr, who led the
attempted overthrow of the Nation-
al Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR)
government in July 1990, will not tes-
tify in the 15th session of the com-
mission of enquiry into the event. It
is expected to wrap up soon.
The enquiry resumed yesterday at
the Caribbean Court of Justice, Henry
Street, Port-of-Spain, with commission
lead counsel Avory Sinanan listing the
witnesses who would testify in the one-
week session which ends on Friday.
Sinanan said the commission had
sent Salmon letters to people who were
subject to adverse comment or criticism
by previous witnesses when they gave
He said the essential purpose of a
Salmon letter, requesting the presence
of the recipient, was to ensure fairness.
As a result, a Salmon letter was sent
to Col Hugh Vidale, who was a com-
manding officer in the T&T Regiment
during the 1990 insurrection.
Special Branch head Dalton Harvey
had made some comments concerning
Vidale when he gave evidence to the
commission in camera at an earlier ses-
Hence the Salmon letter to Vidale
so that he could return to clear the air.
Vidale consented and was the main
witness at yesterday s hearing.
Former NAR national security min-
ister Herbert Atwell was also sent a
Salmon letter requesting that he gives
evidence in the enquiry.
Another former NAR minister, Lin-
coln Mayers, while giving evidence at
a previous hearing, had claimed Atwell
wanted to abscond to Venezuela when
Jamaat al Muslimeen insurgents staged
the attempted coup.
Sinanan said Atwell responded
by sending in a written statement
which would be read into the writ-
ten record but commission chair-
man Sir David Simmons, querying
why, wanted to know if it was
because he was ill.
"It was not stated officially in
his letter but when the former
instructing attorney contacted him,
that was the response," Sinanan
But Simmons insisted: "It would
be preferable for those who receive
Salmon letters to come and give
Simmons told Sinanan that
before steps were taken concerning
Atwell, attempts should be made
to find out if he could be physically
present to give evidence.
Former acting Clerk of the
House Raphael Cumberbatch
would also return to give evidence.
While testifying earlier this year,
Cumberbatch, who served as a
temporary PNM senator, claimed
former Speaker Nizam
Mohammed sought to facilitate
the granting of landing rights to a
Libyan aircraft during the height
of the 1990 coup attempt.
Harry Ramdin would add a
human-interest element to the
enquiry when he testifies later this
week. Ramdin, who visited Par-
liament with his wife on July 27,
1990, was injured and his wife
Dr Denaesh Ariyanayagan, who
wrote a report on the response of
the health services in the wake of
the bloody uprising, is also lined
up to testify and Comptroller of
Customs Fitzroy John will give evi-
dence in camera.
Corey Joseph, a former PRO for
the NAR s youth arm, who was at
the Red House when the Mus-
limeen stormed the building on
July 27, 1990, gave evidence yes-
The enquiry began two years
ago and a large number of wit-
nesses, including politicians, offi-
cers from the protective services,
relatives of victims and members
of the Jamaat al Muslimeen who
participated in the uprising, have
testified so far.
Bakr, despite repeated requests
by the commission, has failed to
show and a witness statement
from him is yet to be heard at the
He has blamed an ongoing sedi-
tion court trial and poor health as
reasons for not appearing. Former
prime ministers Patrick Manning
and Basdeo Panday, who were not
in Parliament when the Muslimeen
stormed the Red House, have not
Bakr still a no-show at probe
Yasin Abu Bakr
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