Coup 1990 NEEDS EDITING

Topics: Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain, Member of Parliament Pages: 8 (2057 words) Published: March 25, 2015

Question :As a journalist, write a blog about the events taking place in July 1990. You should incorporate the accounts of three interviewees, who share their thoughts on the causes and consequences of the attempted coup.

On July 27th, 1990, Trinidad and Tobago, once a British colony faced one of its darkest moment in its history. On this day, the country was held at random as 114 terrorists from the Jamaat al Muslimeen led by their charismatic leader, a former police officer, Yasin Abu Bakr. These rebels launched an armed attack on the sitting Parliament House, which was at the time, occupied by members of the three political parties of Trinidad and Tobago. Those parties were The National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), which was the Government of Trinidad and Tobago at the time, the opposition People National Movement (PNM), and the United National Congress (UNC) together with the members of the public. These rebels also stormed and took control of the Trinidad and Tobago Television station (TTT), which was located one mile from the red house by taking their staff hostage. They also seized control of the Trinidad and Tobago Broadcasting Company (TBC). The leader of The National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), Prime Minister Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson also popularly known as Mr. A.N.R Robinson. His party won the December 1986 general election with an impressive 33-3 majority, thus displacing the Peoples’ National Movement government after thirty consecutive years in office. At that time, the Member of Parliament was attending a debate on ‘corruption probe findings in the House of Representatives.’

Friday 27th July 1990 the first Day of Captivity
That Friday started like any other Friday in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. People were liming with friends and that particular day most of the public was heading to the National Stadium to observe the Caribbean Football union match final between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Suddenly, there was a loud explosion at the Police headquarters on St. Vincent Street of a car bomb driven from the building by Jamaat-al-Muslimeen men. The explosion set the building on fire, killing one police sentry. Meanwhile, at the same time at Maraval Road Muslimeen leader Mr. Yasin Abu Bakr led seventy-two members belonging to the Jamaat-al-Musimeen into the Trinidad and Tobago only television station armed with guns taking hostage of staff. Radio Trinidad, which was situated behind the Television House, was also captured. According to Marajh, Camini (August 5, 1990) “it was 6pm (local time) when Mr. Yasin Abu Bakr appeared on television announcing that the government of Trinidad and Tobago has been arrested and there would be a general election in 90 days" Trinidad and Tobago Sunday Express pp. A15. While army personnel concentrated on containing the situation at the red house, thousands of looters descended upon the city, causing a rampage the city of Port Of Spain stripping stores of their goods and destroying the looted buildings by fire. At 10:30pm, Minister, Lincoln Myers and Clive Pantin appeared briefly on television, which was broadcast from Camp Ogden assuring the citizens of the country that the government had not fallen. According to Marajh, Camini (August 5, 1990) Colonel Ralph Brown then quoted “the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force is not in collaboration with the perpetrators of this act” Trinidad and Tobago Sunday Express pp. A15. Throughout the Friday night, religious prayers and messages were broadcast on the national radio 610, which survived an attempt of being burnt down by four armed men, which was put out by staff. In the dead of the night, Attorney General Anthony Smart escaped from the Red House.

Saturday 28th July 1990, the second day of Captivity
Early the following morning the Planning and Mobilization Minister Selby Wilson was released to coordinate negotiations between the government at Camp Ogden and the...
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