Trinidad and Tobago commemorates 33rd anniversary of 1990 coup attempt by Jamaat al Muslimeen
Trinidad and Tobago commemorates 33rd anniversary of 1990 coup attempt by Jamaat al Muslimeen || Picture Courtesy: National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago (Facebook)
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: The National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago remembered members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen who attempted to overthrow the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 33 years ago.

The Parliament was held under siege, while the leader of the Jamaat, Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, appeared on national television (TTT). This coup attempt went on for six days – from July 27 to August 1, 1990 – during which the turmoil led to the deaths of twenty-four people, severe damage in Port of Spain, and the loss of valuable records, national heritage and architecture that were all burned in the destruction.

For this reason, the 1990 coup attempt is a traumatic event in our nation’s history. Thirty-three years later, the violence and destruction that transpired still trigger difficult memories for many. The Police Headquarters was bombed and engulfed by fire, and many businesses were later set aflame on Queen, Charlotte and Henry Streets in Port of Spain.

The National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago further informed that the greatest loss to reckon with had been the twenty-four lives of those who died during the coup attempt. Among them were bystanders and civilians, government workers and officials, policemen, media representatives and members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen.

A Commission of Enquiry was appointed in 2010 to provide insight into the events that took place in July 1990. The report released by the Commission in 2014 revealed that losses due to arson and looting were estimated to be TTD $450,000,000.00.

Additionally, many of the victims of the coup attempt have yet to be identified. Let’s remember and pay tribute to those victims whose names are known:
🌹Leo des Vignes
🌹Solomon McLeod
🌹Roger George
🌹Mervyn Teague
🌹Malcolm Basanta
🌹Lorraine Caballero
🌹George Francis
🌹Arthur Guiseppi
🌹Helen Lavia

In 1991, a commemorative plaque and an eternal flame were installed at the Red House to honour those who passed away in the hopes that “the flame never goes out.” The eternal flame symbolises “the need to be ever-vigilant in the protection of our democracy.”