LAST FRIDAY’S observance of 28 years since the terrorist attacks on the TT Parliament and the media by the Jamaat al Muslimeen was accompanied by many commentaries. After several court cases, legal proceedings in several jurisdictions, and the holding of an official commission of inquiry, the quest for justice in relation to this scar on our democracy remains unquenched. Yet all would do well to take a read of the official Report of the Commission of Inquiry into 1990. Judging from some of the comments and speculation last week, it is clear that not enough people have.
Historian Brinsley Samaroo, a former member of the NAR government, said four operatives of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) rendered assistance and a troop of soldiers from the US via Puerto Rico was poised to intervene.
His statements were far from new. For decades, such a rumour persisted and there was speculation over the extent of US assistance. In fact, the claim of US involvement as suggested by Samaroo was ventilated before the inquiry which, in its final report published since 2014, recounted the many accounts of the role of the US Hostage Management Division. The final report of Sir David Simmons QC, a former chief justice of Barbados, also noted matters relative to US ambassador to TT Charles Gargano.
Additionally, the report, which is freely available on the Parliament’s website, states Winston Dookeran, the acting Prime Minister, was not opposed to US aid.
“We had to solve a problem,” Dookeran told the commission. “We had to get intelligence. I approached the US ambassador to TT and requested technical support from the Hostage Management Division of the US security.”
Such assistance would not be surprising. Nor would it be unwelcome. This country has regularly co-operated with the US on national security matters over the decades. In 2009, US president Barack Obama met with Caricom leaders, and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative was launched. Last November, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley met with the commander, US Southern Command, Admiral Kurt Tidd.
But it is not just the US that this country partners with. In February, Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom all played a role in the events surrounding the scuppering of a plot to disrupt Carnival.
In 1990, the insurgents were bold-faced enough to demand no foreign intervention. But such a request fell ill in the mouths of people who had attacked the seat of this sovereign democracy, taking our nation’s Cabinet hostage.
While there are sensitive aspects of the 1990 attack that have remained unpublished, conspiracy theorists would do well to simply apprise themselves of the facts. Instead of looking for scapegoats, the focus should be the fact that terrorists were the ones responsible for the events of July 27, 1990. And they have never faced justice.