President: July 27, 1990 changed crime in Trinidad and Tobago

President Paula-Mae Weekes.
President Paula-Mae Weekes.

PRESIDENT Paula-Mae Weekes agreed with the conclusion of the commission of enquiry (CoE) into the July 27, 1990 attempted coup that the nature of crime in Trinidad and Tobago today was influenced by the attempted coup and events afterwards.

She expressed this view when she addressed the police Code 727 film screening award ceremony at Queen's Hall on Wednesday, which showcased different accounts of the attempted coup.

On March 14, 2014, then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar laid the CoE report in the House of Representatives.

Weekes said in the conclusion of its report, the commission indicated "the burgeoning crime and the changing nature of contemporary crime in TT have their origins in the events of 1990 and the aftermath thereof.”

She agreed with this view.

"Having worked in the field of criminal law consistently from 1982-1996, I am of the same view, that violent crime, in particular robbery and murder, saw a significant and devastating increase post-1990, and I do not believe that to be a mere coincidence."

Weekes admitted that as an attorney at that time, she may have interacted with one of the coup's victims, PC Solomon McLeod who was killed when members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen attacked police headquarters in Port of Spain.

Weekes said, "While many people certainly remember that there was an attempted coup, what appears to have faded from the national consciousness are the feelings of outrage and indignation that armed criminals robbed innocent people of their lives, property and livelihoods and caused untold harm to their sense of security and peace of mind."

The events of July 27, 1990 must never be forgotten.

Weekes said, "Let not our national penchant for short memories condemn us to a repeat of the tragic past."

No person over 35 should forget where they were on July 27, 1990.

She said, "Fortunately for me, that fateful evening, I was within a stone’s throw of my home and did not share the scary and traumatic experiences of my colleagues who were at the Hall of Justice for the Law Association’s annual wine-and-cheese social."

Weekes suggested the creation of a museum-type arrangement to commemorate the attempted coup and the people killed in the course of it.

"Such an undertaking will not come cheap, but it will be worth it, particularly when one considers the messaging, obvious and subliminal, that will be conveyed to the otherwise unmindful."

Weekes said it is a national disgrace that 32 years after the attempted coup, 15 of its victims remain nameless.


"President: July 27, 1990 changed crime in Trinidad and Tobago"

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