National Security Minister, Peter Bunting, says the refusal of Caribbean Airlines, CAL, to return Yasin Abu Bakr to Trinidad and Tobago, forced the Jamaican Government to hire a private jet to transport the radical Muslim cleric back home.
The Government has been criticized for paying 4-million dollars to a United States-based company to deport Abu Bakr.
On the weekend, Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness, described the move as a callous one which exemplified the misplaced priorities of the PNP-administration.
Minister Bunting responded to the criticisms today, telling MPs that information supplied to the Government led it to consider Abu Bakr a genuine, serious and present danger to the country’s national security.
He said it was decided that the radical Muslim, who arrived in the island days before Sunday’s 19th anniversary of the Million Man March, had to be deported immediately.
But Minister Bunting said upon being placed at the back of the aircraft, a protesting Abu Bakr cited a medical condition, which dictated that he had to travel first class.
However, the Security Minister says Caribbean Airlines said no way.
It’s understood that Abu Bakr showed law enforcement personnel scars on his feet, reportedly from surgery.
He’s understood to have indicated that if he flew in economy class his legs would not be afforded room, clots would develop and the condition called thrombosis would put his life in danger.
Minister Bunting told parliament that given CAL’s refusal to fly Abu Bakr in first class and the medical condition of the radical Muslim, a private plane had to be hired.
In response to sharp criticism from the Opposition, Minister Bunting told parliament that given the unique circumstances of the matter, the PNP administration took the best course of action to deport a man who law enforcement had dubbed a vicious operator.
Meanwhile Opposition legislators, including Pearnel Charles, Daryl Vaz and Derrick Smith described Minister Bunting’s justification for the spend on Abu Bakr’s deportation, as unacceptable.
Mr. Smith, the Opposition Spokesman on National Security, says the government was weak in his treatment of Abu Bakr.
Derrick Smith, Opposition Spokesman on National Security.
But Minister Bunting insisted the government took the most appropriate steps in treating with Abu Bakr’s deportation.
Peter Bunting, Minister of National Security.
— 30 —