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He was the villain

By CAROL MATROO Thursday, April 10 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, speaks yesterday on the death of ANR Robinson, whose government he tried to overthrow in a coup in 1990. ...
Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, speaks yesterday on the death of ANR Robinson, whose government he tried to overthrow in a coup in 1990. ...

PROMISING to tell the nation everything that led to him attempting to overthrow the then NAR government in 1990, Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Imam Yasin Abu Bakr yesterday described the then prime minister at the time of the coup — ANR Robinson — as a “villain.”

Speaking hours after Robinson, 87, passed away at the St Clair Medical Centre, Bakr said, “We will give you the proof, the genesis locally and internationally as to why this happened. And then you will realise that you owe me an apology,” an unrepentant Bakr told Newsday.

“I owe you as a citizen of this country an explanation for 1990, and in some way it affected all of us. I do owe the people an explanation which I will do...that is a promise. If I live I will do that so that people can hear both sides of the story and only then can you make a judgement,” Bakr said during the interview at the Jamaat’s compound in Mucurapo.

Bakr said as far as the 1990 attempted coup was concerned, Robinson was the villain in that event where he and his men stormed the Red House in an attempt to overthrow the NAR government. Robinson was the prime minister at the time and when he shouted his now famous command to the armed forces to, “attack with full force”, Robinson was shot in the right leg.

“The hypocrites in this society and that would include you the press...you have lauded Mr Robinson as a very brave man, and noble when he said in 1990, ‘attack with full force’.”

“How do you define this person’s conduct? I mean, the man was the captain of the ship and if he found himself in danger as the captain of the ship, why did he endanger everybody’s lives? If you were in the Red House and Mr Robinson had said to the military, ‘attack with full force’, he endangered all lives. You all laud Mr Robinson when he could have had everybody killed for the mistakes that he as captain made,” Bakr accused.

He described the recently completed Commission of Inquiry as “a fiasco”. He said he was now before the courts because he refused to testify before the commission. “I will not tell you the reason for that because the matter is before the court, but I am the author of that revolution and until you have heard my story, you have heard nothing,” he declared. “I never abandoned my role as the leader and when we finally agreed (to surrender), I was the first person out and if anybody would have been killed it would have been me. I didn’t hide behind and let everybody else come out first. I did not lead from behind, I led from in front,” Bakr said.

Even while expressing his condolences to Robinson’s family, Bakr questioned what did the former prime minister and president do for the people of Tobago, the island of his birth.

“As regards to our history, I’m sure the people in Tobago have much to be proud of Mr Robinson’s academics are concerned. He was at one time a finance minister, he was a prime minister and also a president. You don’t usually get better than that. In terms of his achievements as an academic you can’t desire much more than that,” he acknowledged.

“However that is not how people are judged. Knowledge has two parts, the acquisition of the information and what you do with the knowledge which you have acquired. Tobagonians have very little if anything at all to point out what Mr Robinson has done although he has held these high offices, absolutely nothing! Jack Warner has had a short political life, but we can say that he has built five stadiums and sent one of the smallest countries in the world to the World Cup,” Bakr stated.

He said it was not just what a person did with the discipline he or she had, but what they have been able to achieve because at the end of their lives, that is how they would be judged.

In commenting on Robinson’s passing, Bakr quoted, “Inna-le ha he wa in na lilla he rageoon– from God we come and to God is our eventual return. Death is the inevitable event, it is the only thing that is sure once you are born. Once you are born you will die,” Bakr said.

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