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Ex-PNM senator sees signs of another 1990 and says: People are getting vex again
Signs of another 1990 are here again warns Laventille community activist and former PNM senator, Muhammad Shabazz. “The people are getting vex again, especially Afro-Trinidadians. Before 1990, there were signs that it was going to happen. “There are similar signs now,” Shabazz yesterday told the commission of enquiry into the July 27, 1990 attempted overthrow of the government by Jamaat al Muslimeen insurgents.
He added: “You ent see they taking we for fools? You ent see they want we to get vex again? “When we vex we don’t care. We could run into Parliament. They could bring all the police for we.” A highly-emotional Shabazz, 63, of Morvant, brought a strong race element into his evidence and cried when he spoke about the lack of empowerment of Afro-Trinidadians.
“I come here and cry. My children are feeling pain and nobody don’t care,” he said. When he gave his first “vex” warning, he was speaking about the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). “The CCJ is financed by our country and we not subscribing to it,” he said.
“Ent is here I am now?” he told the commission at the CCJ on Henry Street, Port-of-Spain, where the inquiry is being held. Shabazz repeated his warning that the people were “getting vex again” when he spoke about the Government’s land-distribution programme.
He added: “They (the People’s Partnership Government) is giving out land to plant food. “Chaguaramas Bay was once owned by a lot of people like me, but it was taken away by the Queen (of England) and given to other people. “The Government could set up programmes (agricultural) in Carenage. The people are seeing that and feeling that and getting vex again, sir,” he told commission chairman Sir David Simmons.
A former police officer, Shabazz said he helped quell the 1970s Black Power Revolution but left the service when he realised “we were the revolutionaries.” He attended a mosque on the Jamaat’s compound at 1 Mucurapo Road when the land was under the control of the Islamic Missionaries Guild before 1983 when Jamaat leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, took over the property, he said.
Shabazz said he was never a member of the Jamaat but was close to Bakr and had friends in the organisation. Asked if he was a Muslim, Shabazz said he could not accept certain Islamic principles and did not believe in religion on the whole but in God Almighty in heaven. Shabazz said he was a member of the Black Caucus Movement with David Muhammad, a local representative of the US-based Nation of Islam.
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