Saturday, March 15, 2014

Coup report to be included in educational institutions: PM Kamla

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said on Friday the report of the Commission of Enquiry into the failed 1990 Muslimeen coup would become an important part of the education system in the country.

"It is the fervent wish of my Government and I that citizens everywhere will take the opportunity to read and study this Report on the Parliament website.

"It now represents a fundamental contribution to our history and provides answers to many questions which have plagued us all over the past twenty three years.

"We all now have an opportunity to put the 1990 Coup into its perspective, to understand some of the salient factors which impacted on its hatching and execution, to dispel and reject the innuendoes and patent falsehoods, and ascertain the true facts, to acknowledge, recognise and honour the heroes of that experience including the brave men and women of our protective services, the Parliament, the media and other citizens of this country and to remember the fallen, while at the same time completely rejecting the notion that the attempted Coup and its proponents were noble and honourable.

"This Report must serve to reinforce a national commitment to the firm unwavering principles of democracy and national honour to which we universally subscribe.

"This Commission of inquiry benefited enormously from vast public support. Many persons were anxious to appear before the Commission and to give pertinent evidence. Others chose to submit detailed reports and supporting documents.

"And we thank all those who came forward.

"This overwhelming citizen participation ensured that the Commissioners became fully seized and possessed of vital information and pertinent data which collectively and comprehensively served to inform and underpin detailed review and analysis leading to the production of a most incisive and far reaching summary of this sordid experience.

"Mr. Speaker, this Report, a credit to Sir David and all those who worked tirelessly towards its completion, despite some serious setbacks and utter frustration, including the noted non-appearance at the Enquiry of a key proponent in this matter - and I add at this time I was heartened to read today that Sir David said that this absence, though regretted for the sake of completeness, did not compromise the integrity of the exercise.

"This Report must go beyond mere study, mere scholarship, mere education and information, mere provision of final and substantial answers to long standing and nagging questions, it must serve to provide tangible lessons for the People of Trinidad and Tobago, with the objective of ensuring that such a grievous and heinous assault on our democracy must never happen again.

"Some of the descriptions are understandably stark and graphic. But they are real and factual.

"The Report refers to ‘sitting MP’s being victims of unspeakable indignities’, of the wanton acts of destruction of our venerable Parliamentary chamber in the historic Red House, it reminds us that our Honourable Prime Minister at the time, Mr. A N R Robinson, and his Minister of National Security, Mr. Selwyn Richardson were singled out, badly beaten and then shot in their legs.

"It highlights the widespread looting and wilful arson of public and private buildings causing losses of millions of dollars. It draws the picture of our Capital City devastated.

"This Report therefore must have fundamental and far reaching impact on our citizenry.

"It must serve to reinforce the supremacy of law and order, of peaceful electoral transitions, highlight and reemphasise our abiding respect for the noble traditions and values enshrined in our constitution. It must contribute to our continuing nation building, with direct influence on our young people as they prepare to assume leadership roles in the future...

"I am pleased to announce...that this morning I held discussions with our Minister of Education, Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, that his Ministry should put together a team to translate this Report into a distilled but effective Educational Work Study programme," she told legislators.

"It would include a summary of the facts, a discussion Guide and a covering Teacher’s Guide so that our students, particularly those in the senior forms of our secondary schools, could review this chapter in our history, now with the additional information, facts and studied analysis from this Report.

"I have also asked Dr. Gopeesingh and Senator Fazal Karim, Minister of Tertiary Education to communicate with the principal of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies, the University of Trinidad and Tobago, our Law Faculty at St. Augustine, as well as COSTATT and other institutions of learning to examine how some period of study can be allocated to enable students of these institutions to formally facilitate discussion and review.

"I note that the availability of the Report on the internet will add a further dimension to such a discussion by citizens and I have no doubt that our population will find enlightening, such an opportunity to engage in meaningful and objective review and analysis of this critical chapter in our history."

Read the report:

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai