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Bunting rips Opposition nitpicking on Abu Bakr

Published:Tuesday | October 21, 2014 | 11:33 PM

NATIONAL security minister Peter Bunting has blasted the parliamentary opposition for nitpicking and using the Yasin Abu Bakr's $4 million deportation cost to seek to score political points.

"Heavy-weather is being made of this money that is spent," Bunting said.

He told legislators that the government intends to spend less less than $8 million this year in deporting people like Abu Bakr, Bunting said, noting that the expenditure is less that the nearly $9 million spent in 2011, the last year of the Jamaica Labour Party administration.

"We are operating within a budget that you spent almost three years ago doing the same thing," Bunting said.

The national security minister said "the opposition can't have it both ways: One the one hand they say we must be decisive and on the other hand they say we rush and make the decision".

"The truth of the matter is that whatever we do they are going to nit pick it, they are going to continue try to get political mileage from it. In our judgment, we took decisive action, we think it is in the interest of protecting national security and we stand by it".

Bunting likened the money to a home insurance policy which appears to be a waste if there is no disaster, but a cover in the event of destruction.

While conceding the sum is significant, Bunting said it pales in comparison to what a terrorist in Jamaica would have cost.

"He was looking an opportunity to become some sort of cause celeb," Bunting said, while pointing to the behaviour of the Muslim group leader after being denied entry.

Bunting also said the sum is small when compared to billions spent seeking to delay the extradition of confessed gangster Christopher Dudus Coke in 2010.

Bunting said Abu Baku refused to be seated when he was escorted to a waiting Caribbean Arlines aircraft.

He said the Trinidardian refused to be seated in the economy section of the plane and that it would be a breach of security protocol to have him seated in the business or first class area of the aircraft.

"Non-compliance and unruliness was an obstacle to his travel on commercial, and in fact most private chartered aircraft would not take a non-compliant individual, "Bunting said.

He said further that because of Abu Baka was uncooperative and the the packed flight was in danger of being canceled.

Bunting, said Abu Baka, though in shackes, was fighting and creating a scene and that "Caribbean Airlines could not have carried him".

He said that if Abu Baka had been landed, the Government's other option was to put him in jail, and under the Treaty of Chaguaramas he would have an automatic six month stay.

Daryl Vaz, the MP for West Portland, said that instead of going the route of a chartered jet, the government should have given Abu Bakr the option of traveling back to Trinidad on a single engine JDF aircraft.

"He can go back on that too, it will take him a few days and a lot of heartaches with a single-engine going over the sea," Vaz said while adding that he believes the decision to use the private carrier was not a last resort.