Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 24th 2013 Contents A16
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, May 24, 2013
Former prime minister Arthur
NR Robinson was about to call a
third name in the debate on the
Tesoro/DC 9 scandal in Parlia-
ment on July 27, 1990, but never
got the chance because Jamaat al
Muslimeen rebels stormed the
building after the tea break and
held him and other MPs hostage
for six days.
Harry Ramadhin, who was in
the public gallery that fateful day,
yesterday also told the Commission
of Enquiry at the Caribbean Court
of Justice, Port-of-Spain, that after
he and his wife were separated by
the insurgents, she told him she
would probably die in the Red
Ramadhin, 88, told the com-
mission of the lasting ordeal he
and his wife Venus endured after
they packed sandwiches and
orange juice and went to the public
gallery on July 27 to take in the
debate as a sort of outing.
He worked with the Alcoa
steamship at the time and Venus
was employed with Angostura.
They lived in Carenage.
Ramadhin was 65 and Venus 45
when they both ended up being
shot and held hostage for a short
The National Alliance for Recon-
struction was in power and Robin-
son, who had opened the debate,
was to speak again on a govern-
ment motion to take note of the
out-of-court settlements in law-
suits in the US against the Tesoro
Corporation, and in Canada against
the son of John O Halloran.
O Halloran was a former Peo-
ple s National Movement (PNM)
"Two names had been called,"
He said he had been following
the debate and had gone to Par-
liament for the opening the Mon-
day before the attempted coup.
"A third name was expected to
be called. Robinson was to disclose
the name. He never got the
Robinson was shot, and later
demitted office when the PNM
won the 1991 general election.
"The timing of the event,
nobody ever questioned that
before. If someone in authority
could answer that question, why
the attempted coup took place
before Robinson gave the name,"
Ramadhin told the commission.
He said Jamaat al Muslimeen
leader Yasin Abu Bakr, who led
the uprising, and certain politicians
should give evidence in the
"I myself want to find out why
they invaded the Red House.
Robinson and (former national
security minister) Selwyn Richard-
son were targeted."
Ramadhin threw some of the
blame for the insurrection on the
Summit of the People s Organi-
sation (SOPO), an amalgamation
of trade unions, religious groups,
including members of the Catholic
Church and the Jamaat al Mus-
limeen, non-governmental organ-
isations, public servants and PNM
and United National Congress
members. SOPO staged marches
and demonstrations in the months
before the uprising.
Asked how he felt about the
Muslimeen after they were shot,
he said: "I m not happy about it.
But I have to live. Life has to go
Ramadhin said Venus still had
a bullet from the ordeal lodged in
her shoulder and suffered pain
from the wound.
An emotional Ramadhin recalled
that when the Muslimeen invaded
Parliament, he and Venus ran into
the tea room, which was crowded
with people. He said he heard an
explosion, the Red House rocked,
and shortly after he discovered he
and Venus had both been shot.
Ramadhin said the Muslimeen
ordered everyone in the public
gallery to leave the building and
he did so reluctantly after a rebel
promised to get his wife out.
"She said, Harry, you go, leave
me here to die. "
Ramadhin said a police officer
he identified as Mr Joseph, who
had been hiding in a toilet and was
found by the Muslimeen, was later
told to help his wife leave the Red
House. Joseph dragged the bleeding
Venus out to the street and a driver
they never saw again stopped and
took them to the hospital.
Venus had a collapsed lung and
doctors said they feared removing
the bullet lodged in her shoulder
would affect her spine and paralyse
her for life.
Ramadhin said he was treated
for his injury and discharged, but
Venus eventually had to retire as
The couple, who have four chil-
dren, never got compensation or
assistance with their medical bills
and were never invited to a 1990
memorial service, Ramadhin said.
Witness at coup enquiry:
My wife feared she
would die in attack
Under-13 competitors in the boys' 80-metres sprint to the finish line during Grant Memorial Presbyterian
School's annual sports day at Skinner Park, San Fernando, on Wednesday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
SPRINT TO THE FINISH
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