Wednesday 2nd February, 2005

 

State witness testifies: I was a ghost foreman in URP

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr is escorted from the Hall of Justice yesterday by his followers after his conspiracy to commit murder trial closed for the day.

Photo: Noel Saldenha

BY ROBERT ALONZO

Murder accused and self-confessed kidnapper Brent Danglade said in evidence yesterday he used to collect $800 each fortnight for posing as a ghost foreman in the Unemployment Relief Programme.

Danglade, aka “Small Brent,” told the jury he was forced to take the shahada (initiation) to become a Muslim in order to get work because “Muslims were controlling everything.”

Danglade, who has confessed to being involved in kidnappings and murders, is one of the State’s main witnesses against Jamaat al Muslimeen leader, Yasin Abu Bakr.

Bakr is accused of conspiring to murder expelled members Salim Rasheed and Zaki Aubaidah, on June 4, 2003, at Citrine Drive, Diamond Vale, Diego Martin.

The trial is taking place before Justice Mark Mohammed in the Port-of-Spain Third Court.

The witness said after his release from prison in 2001 he was unable to get a job. He said Muslims were controlling everything in the St Ann’s area and because of this he took the shahada to get employment.

He spent his second day in the witness box yesterday and was grilled for the entire day by Bakr’s attorney, Pamela Elder, SC.

The witness said under the URP programme “you did not had to work to get money.”

Danglade, 27, said he was hired as an area foreman and was put in charge of region three which comprises parts of Cascade, St Ann’s and Port-of-Spain.

He said he was his own boss and collected pay although he did not work.

He claimed he could not remember who had hired him as the area foreman. But, he said, it was the person responsible for Port-of-Spain.

Danglade said his job as an area foreman paid more than a regular foreman and his work was signing time sheets.

He said, “I had reasonable pay for no work,” adding that he never spent one day working in the hot sun.

Danglade said he could not remember how long he collected money for not woking.

He said when he spoke on Monday of living a life of deceit he meant that he could not let his associates know all his business.

Asked by the DPP to explain what he meant, Danglade said he meant that if he kidnapped a victim and demanded a ransom of about $100,000 he could not let anyone know.

“They would want a cut although they did not put out an effort in the kidnapping,” he said.

He said he was not surprised that although he had confessed to kidnappings he was not charged.

“I did not find that strange.”

He said there were a lot of kidnappings and Bakr was around. Objections were quickly raised and Danglade could not continue this piece of testimony.

Danglade said when he confessed to Sgt Wayne Dick about his involvement in kidnappings at Homicide Bureau on July 10, 2003, the officer did not take any notes and did not caution him.

He said he had only heard about Dick before that day. He said he knew there was a “hit on his head” before going to the Homicide Bureau to confess to Dick.

Danglade is expected to be re-examined by DPP Geoffrey Henderson when hearing resumes today.

The prosecution:

Queen’s Counsel Sir Timothy Cassel, DPP Geoffrey Henderson, Senior state attorney Wayne Rajbansie and State attorney George Busby.

The defence:

Pamela Elder, SC, Owen Hinds Jr

The judge: Mark Mohammed

The accused: Yasin Abu Bakr

Court: Port-of-Spain Third Criminal Court.

 

 

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