By NALINEE SEELAL Thursday, July 24 2014
AN ANGRY Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Imam Yasin Abu Bakr yesterday threatened Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams and National Security Minister Gary Griffith, of a response, if the security forces continue to raid the Jamaat’s mosque in Carapo, Arima, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
Speaking during an interview aired ‘live’ on WIN Radio 101.1 FM, Bakr was asked for his response to a raid by the police on Tuesday night at the Jamaat’s mosque in Carapo in which the son of the mosque’s Imam, Rajaee Ali and several others, were arrested by police.
In a loud, angry voice Bakr said: “The coming into the mosque at Ramadan and detaining people unlawfully will not and I repeat will not be accepted. Big man Mr Alexander, if you think that you can do whatever you want and you not accountable to God, Mr Commissioner of Police, Mr Griffith, this is Abu Bakr. I am saying that if you continue this transgression against us we will respond appropriately. End of talk!”
This particular excerpt of the interview was posted on WIN Radio’s Facebook page and was shared and reposted several times. Efforts to reach Bakr for a comment on his radio aired threat, proved futile.
In response, National Security Minister Gary Griffith told Newsday that since he had not heard the radio interview by Bakr, he would not comment publicly at this point in time. “I need to speak to the Commissioner of Police before I make a public comment. Sometimes in a situation like this, the person making such a statement expects a reaction. But I am not going to react just so. I know which buttons to push.
“What I will tell you and I have said this before is that nobody, no one is above the law. But with regard to what was said on the radio, I have not heard the actual recording and as such I would prefer not to make any further comment,” Minister Griffith said. He assured that the country’s national security apparatus is fully functional and law abiding citizens have nothing to fear.
Contacted for comment, Acting Police Commissioner Williams also deferred comment saying he had not heard Bakr’s radio comments.
Bakr who is currently awaiting retrial on a charge of Sedition, made his comments four days before the 24th anniversary of the July 27, 1990 attempted coup, in which he led insurgents in a violent attack on the Red House, holding the then National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) government members and prime minister Arthur NR Robinson (now deceased) hostage for several days.
His threat came hours after police raided the Carapo mosque on Tuesday evening with police arresting 18 persons. Police sources yesterday said the detainees were interrogated in connection with the kidnapping of two Latin American nationals on March 5
One of the men detained, police source said, is Rajaee Ali a co-ordinator in the controversial Life Sport Programme who was recently detained for 72 hours and being released without charge. Ali remains in custody at the Arouca Police Station.
Newsday understands that shortly after 6.30 pm on Tuesday, while prayers were being recited at the mosque, officers led by Inspector Mark Maraj surrounded the compound and waited until the prayers ended. Inspector Maraj then spoke with Ali and informed him that the police had information that he could be of assistance to them with respect to ongoing investigations.
The officers asked Ali to accompany them to the Arima Police Station at which time, a female relative began protesting Ali’s detention saying she was fed up of the police taking him away without any charge being laid. Two women were among the 18 held during the raid.
Officers yesterday maintained they did not violate the rights of persons to pray and waited until the prayer session had ended before going about their duties.
“I must commend my officers for the professional manner in which they acted and I want to make it clear that at no time did my officers enter the Carapo mosque while the prayer session was taking place. Those officers waited until those inside the mosque had completed their prayers and then they approached the Imam Rajaee Ali who offered no resistance while being taken away,” stated Snr Supt David Abraham, head of Northern Division.
A press release from the National Security sent to Newsday last night on Bakr’s threat stated:
“Regarding the public statements by leader of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen Abu Bakr, the Ministry of National Security wishes to advise that while there is no evidence of any threat, all usual systems remain in place to deal with any or all threats to public safety and security. These measures are part of the nation’s upgraded defence mechanisms which remain in place on an ongoing basis.”