Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 1st 2014 Contents A9
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The trial against Jamaat-al-
Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr
for his failure to appear before
the Commission of Enquiry into
the 1990 attempted coup has
been fixed to begin on February
27.The date was set by Chief Mag-
istrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar during
Bakr s first appearance in the Port-
of-Spain Eighth Court to answer
the private criminal complaint
which was brought by the Sir
David Simmons-led commission.
He pleaded not guilty.
Bakr, 71, also known as Lennox
Phillip, was initially summoned to
appear in court to answer the
charge, but did not attend last
Monday because of complications
When he appeared yesterday,
Bakr provided the court with a
note from his doctor. While the
note was accepted by Senior
Counsel Israel Khan, who is lead-
ing the commission s legal team,
the lawyer said it was not suffi-
cient for court proceedings, as it
did not give the reasons for Bakr s
absence from the last hearing.
Khan then asked for an short
adjournment to allow the disclo-
sure of his client s evidence to
Bakr s attorneys.
He said the commission wanted
the matter expedited, since its term
comes to an end in March and the
result of the proceedings would
form part of the commission s final
The private criminal complaint,
filed by the commission s secretary
Larraine Lutchmedial, under Section
16 of the Commission of Enquiry
Act, deals with Bakr s refusal to
appear before the commission on
September 23, last year. The leg-
islation makes it an offence to refuse
or fail to appear before a commis-
sion of enquiry once summoned.
If he is convicted of the charge,
Bakr faces a $2,000 fine. Bakr
refused to testify at the commission
to preserve his rights against self-
incrimination and not to prejudge
his pending criminal trial for sedi-
The enquiry lasted 116 days. The
last hearing, at the Caribbean Court
of Justice (CCJ) Building, Henry
Street, Port-of-Spain, took place
on September 23 last year.
The commission is also being
represented by Larry Lalla and
Michael Rooplal. Wayne Sturge and
Criston Williams are appearing for
Former prime minister
Patrick Manning yesterday
broke his prolonged silence to
defend the construction of the
Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus
Christ Church at Heights of
Guanapo in Arima, which was
being built by his then spiritual
adviser Juliana Pena.
The church, which was being
constructed before the May 2010
general election, was subse-
quently abandoned and demol-
The church was the subject of
an investigation by the Integrity
Director of Public Prosecu-
tions Roger Gaspard subsequent-
ly cleared Manning and Pena of
any criminal conduct in the con-
struction of the church.
Manning spoke with the T&T
Guardian at Parliament yesterday
after a small group of protesters
from social lobby group, Fixin
T&T, led by Kirk Waithe, con-
tinued their weekly placard
demonstration outside the Par-
liament, Tower D, Wrightson
One of the placards read: "The
church in Guanapo. Who pay
Manning said the church was
being constructed by Shanghai
Construction of China and up
until it was stopped the esti-
mated cost was $2.8 million.
Waithe said the questions
raised on the placards "relate to
the urgent need for legislation
that governs the financing of
political parties, campaigns and
A prisoner with 38 pending matters for kidnap-
ping and robbery escaped from the Mayaro Mag-
istrates Court yesterday morning.
Up to late yesterday police were still searching for
Azmon Alexander, 31, whom they described as dan-
His last known address was Ackbarali Street, Mal-
The prisoner escaped around 10 am after he
appeared before Senior Magistrate Gail Gonzales and
was remanded into custody.
He has been in custody for approximately two
years awaiting trial.
Alexander was being escorted by two police offi-
cers, a constable and an acting corporal, back to
the station to await transportation to the prison.
He was handcuffed to another prisoner.
As they got to the court entrance, Alexander man-
aged to slip his hand out of the handcuffs, pushed
down the two officers and escaped.
Police cordoned off the Mafeking area after he was
seen near a river there. Up to late last evening police
from the Eastern Division Task Force, Canine Unit,
assisted by the national security helicopter, were still
searching for him.
The incident has brought into question the level
of security at the courthouse, whether there was a
lapse and whether there was a need for improvement,
said a senior police officer.
Snr Supt Othneil Williams of the Eastern Police
Division was heading the search and could not be
reached for comment.
Investigations are continuing.
---with reporting by Alana Boodoo-Suraj
Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh seems amused by the placards displayed by lobby group, Fixin T&T,
led by it's president Kirk Waithe, centre, during a protest outside the Parliament, Waterfront Centre, Port-of-
Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Manning defends Guanapo church
Trial date fixed
for Bakr's case
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