Another look at 1990 coup

By George Alleyne
July 22, 2009 – newsday.co.tt

www.trinidadandtobagonews.com

1990 Coup: Yasin Abu Bakr is arrestedAny Inquiry into the July 27, 1990 attempted coup by the Jamaat al Muslimeen should seek to find out who was behind the supplying of the then militant group with weapons and ammunition, who orchestrated the move to seize power and was the planned coup specifically designed to overthrow the leadership of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) Government.

In addition, and this is crucial, why had no action been taken to forestall the attempted coup, when there had been ample information contained in a newspaper article published several weeks before July 27 that a container of arms and ammunition had landed in Trinidad and had been allowed to be unstuffed several miles from the port of entry? Is it not possible that had the authorities moved with dispatch when the article on the arrival of the container with arms had been published, they would have discovered not only the name of the Customs and Excise officer, who authorised the unstuffing and actually supervised it, but the exact location where the unstuffing took place along with the location of the arms.

At the time, because there was not enough room at any of the nation’s ports to effectively handle the huge volume of containers arriving in Trinidad, arrangements had been made for the unstuffing of containers at authorised points, away from the port of entry. These places were usually warehouses owned by the relevant importers and Customs and Excise officials were specially assigned to direct the process. In this specific case the container of arms and ammunition had been reportedly, directed by the Customs and Excise officer to be taken and emptied at an unauthorised place. This advice was detailed in the pre-July 27, 1990 article.

The question arises as it must: How was the container allowed to be shipped to Trinidad when even a minimum check would have discovered the presence of arms and ammunition? For the record, the bulk of the weapons, reportedly, could not have been used as was subsequently found out. What has troubled many observers over the years has been why was the coup attempt not prevented? There is no valid reason why the attempted coup should have taken place and all the anguish, which followed, allowed. The action, one of the most serious in the history of Trinidad and Tobago, must take its place as one of the nation’s most frightening moments, including the so-called Black Power uprising and the revolt of the military, which it triggered.

And while the leaders of the attempted coup, known and unknown, will not be forgiven by history, nonetheless, any Inquiry should seek to question as well those, who although they resided outside of our twin-island State, actively encouraged it and participated through the supply of arms and ammunition. The July 27, 1990 coup attempt must be condemned.

The attempt to overthrow then Prime Minister, ANR Robinson, along with the manoeuvring, manipulating of people and minds somehow reminded of the carefully executed destabilisation of the Government of former Jamaican Prime Minister, the late Michael Manley, because his assumption of the role of one of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement had been disapproved.

Meanwhile, although several newspaper articles have been written over the years of Trinidad and Tobago being blocked by the action of Trinbagonian officials from achieving membership in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) through devious stratagems adopted, on behalf of a Third Party, yet relatively few appear to be aware of this. In turn, this country, years before the above took place, could have been one of the early members of OPEC, when it was proposed by Venezuela. This, however, was frustrated as all of the oil companies operating here at the time were foreign owned. The benefits would have been tremendous. But I have strayed.

On Monday, Trinidad and Tobago will commemorate the 19th anniversary of the attempt to overthrow the ANR Robinson-led NAR Administration. And while a full and comprehensive Inquiry should be held into the event, this will not take place because such an Inquiry would be inimical to powerful overseas interests. The questions and their answers would be too damning. For example: Who persuaded the ordering of the weapons, bullets and shells? Who had the authority to facilitate their being shipped without a thorough check of the container’s cargo? What has emerged is that there were, probably, two container shipments, with the crucial consignment being the one that, according to reports, landed at the Port of Pointe-a-Pierre!

Memories would have faded with respect to the name of the Customs and Excise officer, who arranged for the Pointe-a-Pierre landed container to be cleared of its contents. Still, any Inquiry may be able to determine which came first, the organising of the attempted coup or the decision by the arms providers to intervene in a horrific manner in the internal affairs of Trinidad and Tobago.

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8 Responses to “Another look at 1990 coup”


  • I pointed out to President Obama,in a letter on Africa that I faxed to him, thta” whenever we see an African child crrying a rifle taller than himself, we must conclude three thins. It was not paid for from his father’s income,but was a gift. What did the gift giver want in return? And Who has a continuing interest in the destabilization of Africa.” Another question is “What is under the soil that they want? In trinidad’s case, its the oil and gas.

    We may be arrogant enough, even at this late stage to think that this has nothing to do with the general destabilization of countries of the African diaspora, but we would be wrong.

    Wherever Afrcan oriignated peoplecontrol vast resources of minerals, muh of the rest of the world seem to think it does not really belong to us. They need to control and manage it.

    Mr. Alleyne has gien some serious reasons as to why a proble into that tragedy needs to be done. We mut, however, be prepared to “dig deeper” than the seeming puppets whose strings were being pulled, that July nineten years ago.

    If that was a shipment of guns to Gzza, it would have neer left port.

  • It is often said that the people get the leaders they deserves, and so if things do not go as expected , it is evident that with very few exception ,we should be expected to look internally.
    I am on record over the last year that I came on this board , in making demands for a comprehensive investigation and or Commission of Enquiry into the despicable atrocities that occurred in 1990 at the hands of idiotic , low life, borderline illiterate front men , disguised as noble God fearing Islamist . A caring nation obviously should want to know once and for all the following: Are there any present governmental stooges involved , and if so jail for them, along with confiscation of any assets they have in their possession.
    Likewise, should a member of our Opposition be complicit in the actions of Abu Backer and his tugs during the aforementioned period , they too should be lost in jail and suffer the same consequences with regards to assets for their roles in such treasonous acts . The private business classes should not be exempted one bit , as many today are some of the loudest in screams when it comes to runaway and escalating crimes across our land. Let them know that we the sometimes sleeping public are aware of the containers that enter our country on a daily basis with dangerous products at their behest , that are geared to destroy millions and place billions into their pockets . Members of the Public Service that abrogated their responsibilities and were complicit by neglect or direct action for paltry gains , should also pay a dear price of similar jail and assets confiscation where necessary.
    No one should be allowed to embarrass a country to the extent that this was done on the grand stage and live to smile like baboons to their children and grand children today , while simultaneously bawling in Tarzan like fashion at today‘s state of affairs , as they still look for ET and family to blame and develop solutions for all that went wrong in our country once our conniving British masters departed .
    Obviously , this would never happen in our lifetime, for we live in a land where generally the majority of the divided people remains comatose fans of tribal/ neo -colonial leaders, and could care little if “ Good Friday falls on a Monday.”
    I still however prefer to be an optimist , as I have profound faith in our people irrespective of their frivolous predilections brought on in part on who they are – a disjointed hodgepodge of fortunate people ,with no cohesive national identity , and devoid of any major recent national crisis capable of forcing them to work together towards a collective and common interest/ good.
    I take solace in the words of the Dalai Larma which states that “changes in attitudes never comes easily ,development is a wide , round curve that can be negotiated only slowly- not a sharp corner that can be turned all at once.”
    Thanks Bro Alleyne, you are that much needed 4th estate voice that is often dormant , yet necessary ,if we are to emerge as a conscious sustainable developing social , economic, and political jewel in the region ,and across the global village at large .
    Keep them honest my friend.
    Regards.

  • Currently, most Africans of the Diaspora and in the motherland are responsible for their own demise. The blame game and blame conspiracies need to cease.

  • Curtis, what do you know about international gun running in Africa, or the contracts awarded for deelopment that built substandard housing for non-whites, or the redlining of districts where African Americans and other minorities live in the USA? Let me give you a website from which you can gather much. Its thecenterforthehealing ofracism.com.The director of this center has documented cases in the west coast of the USA, where Chinese people applied to be classified as white, to be able to own businesses outside their area and to buy decent houses. On one occasion, when the applicant was rejected, his lawyer asked the judge how did he know a White person. The judge replied that every sensible person knows a white person when he sees one,and Chinese is not white. This is part of the Legal record.
    The JApanese nation, however, darker in skin than most Han Chinese (They live closer to the sun, and the sea) were officially classified as white by South Africa during Aparthied, so that they could do business in racist South Africa, nd stay at good hotels. When I learned of that, I ceased to buy Japanese cars. All other non-white people in South Africa- people like those in Trinidad, were classified as Coloured. The Shona speaking people and the Amazulu were classified as Bantus, whch is racist for Nigger in SA. You and I would have been “coloured” and not allowed to live either in the tribal areas, or the”townships” but in Coloured areas in the poorer sections of cities.
    As my friend from the Center Foor The Healing of Racism says, racism is a disease. Africans did not bring this on themselve. Only those ignorant of history, and history is still beig played out, would make such a statement.
    Today, in the USA, a house owned by a non-white person, is hardly ever purchased by a white person. Some ethnic groups can only sell their houes to others of their same group. People swear that thesmell of black eyed peas and smoked pigs feet, as well as the smell of curry, never leaves the walls, no matter how any times you paint. That, to me, is racist. Hamburgers leave a smell too, but that i not complained about..

  • This is such an imbecilic commentary , that speaks more to the mental deficiency and or retardation of this writer ,that it really does not warrant much of a response, except to ask the following: – Does this not applies to all races and ethnicities that cries out for equal rights and justice?

  • saedie.....trini lucian

    I honestly believe this inquiry would decourage trust between citizens and goverment. I personally believe some influence had to be directly or indirectly invovled in the plot if it was to have the devastating effect it had. The inquiry would reveal what or rather who allowed the persons to take away and almost distroying our national pride

  • saedie .. trini Lucian said ,”I honestly believe this inquiry would decourage trust between citizens and goverment.” The NAR ANR Robinson government was a marriage of convenience ,created to topple the PNM. It was despised by most of the nation , and the break up that was led by Panday ,Sudama and Ramnath along with other ULF coup members made 1990 miscalculations overtures possible.
    Civil servants as you might appreciate saedie .. trini lucian are extension of the extension of the government, and so some loyalties can also be divided as well. Is it possible that a few were deliberately inefficient in doing their jobs as a way of hitting back at the Tobago led NAR government that was in power at the time? Perhaps. Did the two political party out of power at the time , had some thing to gain at the time ,and so gave some tactic support to Backer so as to bolster his agenda? It is feasible, as fortunately most of the members of both party were either conveniently out of Parliament ,or the country during the specific period. How about the business and religious fraternity , what role did they play in this shake down that led to looting across the nation along with a curfew? These and other information can come out in a Commission of Enquiry ,that only we can demand- if we care about our country’s development , the present crimes situation . Let me tell you something , and you can believe it or ignore same if you wish. Your country for all it’s posturing on the global stage , will never ever recover until proper closure is made on this issue to the satisfaction of all . Our police service from top to bottom was psychologically destroyed , as we looked as incompetent fools . I should know my friend , and still sees the traumatic reverberations 19 years after. It has helped shaped my thinking on socio political and economic affairs . These are specifically ,the interrelation of economic neglectfulness to terrorism , and the impact of tenuous political leadership -due to divisions , and infighting – on other aspects of vital national interest.
    It is my hope that your introductory statement was meant to focus on all these concerns , and not your narrow fixation of the PNM that you will be either naive or totally disingenuous into believing should solely be blame for Abu Backer and the 1990 attacks on our nation that resulted in murder of citizens and destruction of property , national image and pride.

  • Mrs. or Ms Edwards you are absolutely right when you say that,” Africans did not bring this on themselves”. I notice that you rely on U.S. resources in an attempt to prove your point. Allow me to try to relate. If there is a Korean owned corner store in the hood and one owned by an African American, which store will other African Americans in that community frequent on most occasions? How long will this sob story of Euro-sponsored/ White oppression continues to be the main focus and demise of Africans of the Diaspora? When will come the day that a population of people who were once wealthy enough to be the third wealthiest economy stick together to improve their own standard of life for themselves? The resources are there to do such a thing, but the will is lacking. That is not a problem that any other racial or ethnic group has to solve for Africans of the Diaspora. The world has moved on while we dwell on wrongdoings of the past which in returns increases the achievement gap. We tend to be stuck in the past while others have moved on. We need to get with the program for ourselves rather than point the finger. Ghana seems to be doing better and yet Nigeria with its OPEC earnings still can’t get it together. Many others seem to sell the blood of their country for less than market value and refuse to stick together to create a better way for all rather than for some. I ask you, is that the fault of Europeans/ White people?
    Some leaders plan lavish trips, buy more than a few dozen expensive cars, and build new expensive mansions with tax payer money trying to keep step with other “World Leaders” while their constituency still remains underserved, and are continually rewarded because of race. How silly is that? Why live a less privileged life because of racial, or identity politics?
    Anyway, your first response hinted that Trinidad and Tobago was a possible target for destabilization of countries of the African Diaspora. From what I have gathered, Trinidad and Tobago has a majority East Indian population. Some in Trinidad may see that as African, but not most world leaders. That’s sort of irrelevant at this point. My point is that many leaders of these “manipulated” nations allow this to happen by not staying on their job. Instead they are doing too many things that keep their countries vulnerable. Identity politics are one internal mechanism to destabilize nations; most destabilization just comes from bad leadership. For an example, one only needs to look at the U.S. under the Bush administration over the past eight years. No one race has a copyright on bad leadership.

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