One of the country’s oldest citizens, Josephine Jackman, celebrated her 108th birthday yesterday with a prayer service surrounded by loved ones at her Welcome Peters Street, Siparia home.
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Message to PM from Bakr’s son: Fix your act
A stern message to “get her government right” was sent to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar by Fuad Abu Bakr, son of the leader of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen Imam Yasin Abu Bakr. However, he said he was speaking as a citizen of T&T. He added: “Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar should seize this opportunity and positive wind. Steer in the right directions. Join with us. Weed out the bad apples. “Even if you are involved, correct yourself. Reflect and pray. Do what is right and don’t take the wrong advice from people. “Don’t let them lead you against the people of Trinidad and Tobago. There are real issues that we are facing. You need to change the course of action that is currently being taken by your government.”
Speaking from his office on the Jamaat’s premises on Mucurapo Road, St James, Bakr sought to clear the air on two messages that were sent from his cellphone, via social network Whats App, during the pre-dawn hours of yesterday. The messages, he said, were only Step One in what was to come in the future. The first message read: “We apologise to the general public for the inconvenience. Action against the injustice in our society starts today. “Walking round-and-round has been ignored. It is time for a people who talk too much and take too much to act. Act now and ensure a better tomorrow. Our leaders will listen if we make them listen. Message from the JAM. Please pass on.”
The second message said: “A government must listen to the people. For too long there has been an outcry by the population of Trinidad and Tobago, an outcry that has been falling on deaf ears. “The country’s spending is more than it has ever been in history. Yet poverty persists. “The East-West Corridor has been starved while favored contractors, friends and family, ministers and their co-conspirators rape the Treasury. “Meanwhile in the life of the ordinary man, crime is at an all-time high. The police are killing and abusing youth in the depressed communities. “Salaries for parliamentarians are being increased while public servants have to strike for wages and better conditions. The time has come to pause reflect and change. Please forward.”
This month, July 27, is the 24th anniversary of the 1990 attempted coup which was led by Imam Yasin Abu Bakr. When asked if these messages were strategically sent out in the same month of the coup’s anniversary, Bakr replied: “That is a part of the history of Trinidad and Tobago. The society now is different but yet very similar as it was then. “How we deal with the issues as a people, that’s yet to be written. “The attack of the poor, the categorisation of people as criminals, setting up the police and army against people by giving them the green light to kill, this has reached epic proportions, something needs to give. “We have seen the most draconian laws. We have seen a state of emergency which is yet to be justified properly. “People arrested in droves, held without charge and then subsequently released. Ridiculous actions transpired. “It lends towards that problem and yet, they, the government, are untouchable, nothing could be done. They are insensitive towards the population and once they are in power they would do just as they would feel. “These people are still in Parliament passing laws to increase their pay, adding insult to injury. It has got to stop, it has too,” he replied.
Bakr also sought to give an assurance that there was no threat of a coup or any uprising of any sort. He said: “Certainly not from me, not at all. I want to warn the people, not only assure them, that we need to deal with these issues in a real way now because this has been the highest recorded spending in the government of Trinidad and Tobago.” The messages triggered many rumours of bomb threats in and around Port-of-Spain. However, commander of the National Operations Centre, Garvin Heerah denied that. He said: “There are no threats to any state or other infrastructure, government or otherwise, and the National Operations Centre rejects as nonsense and mischief-mongering any and all rumours to that effect.” National Security Minister Gary Griffith, in a release, reassured that “the diligent and hardworking members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and all of the other arms of State security stand ready to defend the nation with the highest degree of professionalism, patriotism and training.”
The release read: “In response to the latest attempt to destabilise the smooth operation of the State through misleading rumours of instability, especially via the abuse of channels of communication on the social media, the Minister of National Security Gary Griffith again advises the national public that at any time, now and in future, they should be guided by faith in the mechanisms of national security and not by panic and rumours.”