Deyalsingh: Government looking at compensating coup victims

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh. – File photo by Ayanna KInsale

ACTING leader of government business Terrence Deyalsingh has said the former UNC-led People’s Partnership (PP) coalition government failed to do anything to compensate victims of the July 27,1990 coup attempt and the PNM is seeking to right that wrong.

He made this comment in the House of Representatives on April 26 while answering a question on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Deyalsingh reminded MPs that on September 6, 2010, then prime minister (now Opposition Leader) Kamla Persad-Bissessar directed that a commission of enquiry (CoE) into the coup attempt, be established.

He said after extensive public hearings, “a report was delivered to the then President of TT (Anthony Carmona) on March 14,2014.”

Persad-Bissessar, Deyalsingh continued, laid the CoE report in Parliament on the same day.

“Thereafter (Persad-Bissessar) did nothing to take any decision to compensate any person or persons who were held hostage, traumatised and injured in the attempted coup.”

From government’s investigations into this matter, Deyalsingh said, “Previous cabinets took decisions related to assistance for victims of the attempted coup. The first being on August 20, 1990 which was never fully implemented and the second on January 10, 1991 which too was never fully implemented.”

He reiterated, “Notably, the previous UNC administration after commencing a CoE in 2010 and laid the report (in Parliament) in March 2014, did nothing to address the issue of compensation for those who were held hostage, traumatised and injured during the attempted coup.”

Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, is having the CoE report studied and obtaining legal advice on it.

Deyalsingh said Armour will subsequently advise Cabinet on “what are the various legal options available for consideration by the Government (about compensating victims of the attempted coup).”

Naparima MP Rodney Charles said nothing was done by the PNM either to address this issue.

Charles asked if Armour was given a time frame to present his findings to Cabinet.

Deyalsingh replied, “It is correct to note that the UNC, who commissioned the enquiry, did absolutely nothing. We have taken the step to have the honourable attorney general have the (CoE) report studied and make and advise the Cabinet, what are the various legal options going forward.”

Charles claimed the PNM had a history of doing studies that yielded no results.

“Could we expect a result in terms of the compensation for those who have suffered on that day (July 27,1990)? he asked.

Deyalsingh replied, “It would be premature to presuppose what the honourable attorney general will determine. We await the outcome of his studied legal advice.”

Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein asked what date was Armour given a mandate to have the CoE report studied and get legal advice on it.

Deyalsingh replied, “Unfortunately, I don’t have that detailed information with me at this moment.”