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Bakr ‘unreasonable’ on land deal

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

The report of the commission of enquiry into the 1990 attempted coup blames Yasin Abu Bakr for the unresolved land issue at #1 Mucurapo Road.

The commission’s report, which was laid in Parliament last Friday, noted that then prime minister ANR Robinson, and the then minister of local government Dr Brinsley Samaroo tried to find a formula toward resolving the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen’s illegal occupation of the lands but Bakr caused the negotiations to fail. 

“The commission is satisfied, on the evidence, that the NAR Government made bona fide attempts to resolve the land issue with the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen. The situation became intractable because of the propensity of Imam Abu Bakr to “shift the goalposts” in respect of the amount of land which should reasonably have been made available to the JAM. 

“The commission finds that Imam Abu Bakr was offered five acres of the land on a 20-year lease. We find that Imam Abu Bakr initially agreed but subsequently reneged on his agreement when instructions were to be given for preparation of the formal documentation. In like manner, Imam Abu Bakr rejected an improved offer of ten acres and effectively scuttled the negotiations.

“We find that, at all times, Imam Abu Bakr was unreasonable, untrustworthy and negotiated in bad faith. He deliberately caused negotiations to fail.” 

The report added that the commission “entirely endorse the comment of one witness to the effect that Imam Abu Bakr would not have been satisfied “unless he got the whole of western Port of Spain”. 

“The commission finds that the Jamaat knew and accepted on 18 June 1990 that 3.4 acres of land which they had been occupying were and are owned by the City Council and the remaining portion was and is owned by the State,” the report states.

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