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Prober: No compromise with Bakr’s absence

Friday, March 14, 2014

The refusal of Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Imam Yasin Abu Bakr—the man who staged the July 27, 1990 insurrection—to give evidence to the commission of enquiry has not compromised its outcome, says commission chairman Sir David Simmons. He was speaking to the media after handing over a 1,324-page report on the enquiry to President Anthony Carmona at a ceremony at President’s House, St Ann’s, yesterday. One chapter has been deemed confidential. 


“It was not at all compromised. We would have benefited more if he (Abu Bakr) had come but his failure to come did not prevent us from making the requisite findings,” Simmons said.
The report comprised four volumes and 12 chapters. Chapter 12, which was bound in red, Simmons said, was confidential, as it contained findings, observations and recommendations on matters which might affect national security interests. In that chapter 33 recommendations were made. On receiving the documents, Carmona thanked the commissioners for their hard work, adding he was a “voracious reader.” 

He said he was also warmed by the kind sentiments which Simmons expressed to the secretary of the commission, Laraine Lutchmedial. The President said he had worked with her for many years in his capacity as deputy Director of Public Prosecutions.


About the Report

The commission sat for 113 days and there were 16 public sessions, which concluded on September 23, 2013. On some occasions evidence was taken in camera.
The transcripts of the daily proceedings were in excess of 13,000 pages, Simmons added.
In outlining some of the challenges, Simmons said it was not possible to conduct a smooth flow of sessions, as some members of the commission lived abroad and had very busy schedules. 
He said it was also important to give attorneys time to have all their documents and evidence ready.
Simmons reiterated that the Commission of Enquiry Act needed to be modernised as there were loopholes which were evident during the enquiry.
Volume One contained a statement of proceedings as well as the findings, conclusions, observations and recommendations in respect of the 12 chapters.
Volume Two covered chapter two to seven. Chapter two dealt with the nature, extent and the impact of the insurrection. 
Chapter three took into consideration the causes of the attempted coup and any economic, social, political historical and other factors which may have contributed to it.
Chapter four investigated and reported on the underlying purpose and extent of any intention behind the plot that led to the attempted coup.
Chapter five looked at criminal acts, including looting committed in connection with the coup and the motives and objectives of perpetrators of such acts.
Chapter six focused on the identity of those who have been involved or aided and abetted the coup.
Chapter seven examined national-security deficiencies which could have facilitated the coup and the extent to which it was possible to prevent the occurrence of the coup.
Simmons said volume three covered chapters eight to 11. 
Chapter eight dealt with the response and performance of the government, Defence Force, protective services, other essential services and the media during and after the attempted coup.
Chapter nine contained all matters of the negotiations, preparations and execution of the amnesty and negotiations of the terms or surrender.
Chapter ten examined the continued propensity of criminal activities arising from the attempted coup and the correlation, if any, between the attempted coup and the illegal guns and narco-trafficking.
Chapter 11 made recommendations to ensure that victims of the attempted coup and the society as a whole were satisfied that their pain and loss were acknowledged, with a view to fostering closure and healing within the society.


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