Coup inquiry put off
By NEWSDAY REPORTER Wednesday, November 3 2010
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The Commission of Inquiry into the July 1990 attempted coup, which was scheduled to begin yesterday, November 2, has been rescheduled to January 24, 2011.
However, notification of the date change was not issued until late yesterday morning.
The statement was issued by Secretary to the Commission, Laraine Lutchmedial, who told Newsday “more preparation time is needed, due to things beyond our control, before the Inquiry gets underway.”
When pressed for a more detailed explanation, Lutchmedial said there were three main reasons for the delay.
Namely, aligning the schedules of each commissioner to allow them to begin hearing testimony, finalising accommodation for the commission and its secretariat, and extension of the deadline for submission of evidence from October 28 to November 30, 2010.
In her statement, Lutchmedial expressed regret for any inconvenience, but at least one person was not satisfied with this; member of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) and former hostage during the attempted coup, Wendell Eversley.
An upset Eversley visited Newsday’s head office in Port-of -Spain, yesterday to talk about the Inquiry’s “postponement”.
“I was prepared to testify today (Tuesday). I walked with my documents; evidence I’ve gathered in the 20 years since the attempted coup took place.”
Eversley said because Government failed to notify the public about the Commission’s new start date, he spent Tuesday “walking around town like a madman, going from the High Court to Magistrates’ Court”, trying to find the location of the Commission of Inquiry.
Matters were made worse, Eversley said, by the fact that no one at either court, or at the Attorney General’s Office, and the Office of the Prime Minister, could tell him “why the Inquiry had been “postponed. They couldn’t even tell me the new start date,” lamented Eversley.
When he heard why the first hearing of the Commission of Inquiry would not begin until next January, Eversley said “changing the date for something of such national importance should have been made public long, long, before the original start date.”
Eversley said he will resume fasting and protesting every Friday until the Commission actually begins hearing testimony, no matter the date.
Eversley will start his protest next Friday (November 12), by marching from the Dial in Arima to the eternal flame outside Parliament, on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain.
The Commission is chaired by Sir David Simmons. The other members are former independent senator Diana Mahabir-Wyatt, Dr H Ali-Mohammed, Sir Richard Cheltenham QC and former independent senator Dr Eastlyn McKenzie.