President Paula-Mae Weekes has joined the call for a permanent annual commemoration of the 1990 attempted coup.
She is hoping that it comes in the form of a museum with audio visual and historically accurate displays of the events.
She made the suggestion at the premiere of the TTPS’ documentary “Code 727,” which, for the first time, told the story of the insurrection from the point of view of the officers who lived through the ordeal in and around the Red House in Port-of-Spain.
“This needs to be done sooner rather than later, while many of the witnesses are still alive and institutional memory remains. Such an undertaking, of course, will not come cheap, but it will be worth it,” Weekes said.
The President said the idea came to her not just because of the film, which she called timely, because of the date of the premiere, or because it came 32 years after the events, but because of a trip she once made to a holocaust museum in Germany.
She said she was moved by what she saw there although she was far removed from the situation. She said it should be the same for people in T&T.
“For those locals and visitors alike, who have no frame of reference, there is no reason that we cannot erect a museum quality display of artwork, images and accurate verified historical information that provides the front and unfiltered of the affair without romanticising or minimising the facts,’” she said.
The President lamented the fact that nowadays, “many trivialise or minimise the impact of those six dreadful days.”
She believes the attempted coup forever changed the country, and not for the better, saying that violent crime, particularly murder, had taken off since.
As she read the names of the nine identified citizens who died that day—four of whom were police officers—she said it was “a crying shame that those who lost their loved ones in this brazen assault on democracy should feel that they too have been forgotten.”
She added that 15 of the victims remain nameless and called it “a national disgrace.”
The TTPS honoured the officers who were directly involved in the events of 1990 in a gala ceremony immediately after the movie’s premiere. Many of the officers appeared in the documentary.
The brother of PC Solomon McLeod, who was just 23 when he died in the Red House, was greeted with a standing ovation as he received the final award on behalf of his fallen sibling.
Code 727 (727 representing July 27) was produced entirely by the TTPS.
It was directed by acting Cpl Antonio Diaz and produced by Senior Corporate Communications Officer Daniella Johnson.
Johnson told GML it took seven months to produce the film.
She said, “We would have heard from the Defence force, from the parliament, the media, so this is our opportunity to tell the police side of the story.”
She said getting the interviews weren’t always easy, since it required asking officers to relive the trauma again.
“A lot of people were breaking down and crying during the interviews,” Johnson said.
She extended thanks to the 27 officers and former officers who were part of the film.