|After coup attempt, crime rose |
By JADA LOUTOO Friday, January 28 2011
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ONE of the hostages in the Parliament during the July 27, 1990 attempted coup said yesterday that following the insurrection, there was an increase in crime in the country. Wendell Eversley who had gone to hear his first Parliament debate in 1990, said after the attempted coup, crime began to increase.
He also said several key members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen, including Bilaal Abdullah held top positions in the Office of the Prime Minister during former Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s term of office.
Eversley also said the Muslimeen and its leader Yasin Abu Bakr assisted the United National Congress and People’s National Movement in the 1995 and 2000 general elections, providing crucial support to these parties to capture marginal seats.
“Both of them used the services of the Muslimeen to win the elections,” he said. They were an informal political force, he added. Eversley said he would be willing to call names of persons he knew benefitted by getting work with the previous governments, but will do so at a closed session of the enquiry.
Eversley said the Muslimeen provided security for the UNC and the PNM at the elections which followed. “They went house to house canvassing in Tunapuna....St Joseph and on election day I saw (Jamaat al Muslimeen leader) Yasin Abu Bakr at Balisier House on the night of victory,” Eversley said.
Eversley who was congratulated by the commissioners — chairman Sir David Simmons, deputy chairman Sir Richard Cheltenham, Dr Eastlyn McKenzie, Diana Mahabir-Wyatt and Dr Hafizool Ali Mohammed — for his 20-year-long lobby for a commission of enquiry to be established, attributed the rise in murders, kidnappings, drugs and crime in general to the attempted coup and the religious-sect.
He said the attempted coup was the start of the “gun culture began in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Led into evidence by his attorney Ken Wright, Eversely said the events of 1990 left an indelible mark on the country and it appeared to him that the previous governments did not seem to care to investigate what took place.
He spoke of his protest marches, fasts and petitions, begging for an enquiry to be held.
“This never should have happened to our country,” he said. Admitting that each anniversary of the 1990 attempted coup still leaves him shaken, Eversley said he has never been offered psychological counselling.
As he related what transpired at the Red House on July 27, he said he remembered being held hostage in the public gallery and next to him was a woman who had been shot in the stomach.
She was bleeding profusely but later in the night she stopped moving and he said he realised she was dead. That woman was Loraine Caballero, a clerical officer at the Parliament. Eversley said while being held hostage he was a frightened 21-year-old man, who believed he was going to die and at one point pondered where to take the bullet, if he was executed by the insurgents.
The enquiry is being held at the Caribbean Court of Justice, Henry Street, Port-of-Spain.