Ja paid $4m for Abu Bakr's flight
THE JAMAICAN Government has admitted that it shelled out US$36,000 or approximately $4 million to hire a private plane to fly controversial Trinidad and Tobago cleric Yasin Abu Bakr, back to the twin island republic.
A charter company based in the United States reportedly provided the aircraft, which left Jamaica shortly after 3 o'clock Thursday morning and landed three hours later at the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and Tobago.
Abu Bakr, the leader of the Trinidad and Tobago-based Jamaat al Muslimeen group, was refused entry into Jamaica when he landed at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Wednesday.
Jamaica's national security ministry revealed that Abu Bakr was placed on a Caribbean Airlines flight bound for Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, but he was later removed after he became unruly and refused to follow instructions.
"Under the circumstances, it is the country [in this case Jamaica] which refuses to land a passenger that is required to pay for the return flight," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said preliminary discussions were held with the Trinidad and Tobago high commissioner to Jamaica, Dr Iva Gloudon, about the cleric's return, but did not give details of those talks.
Trinidad's National Security Minister Gary Griffiths told reporters in that country that Jamaican officials had asked the Kamla Persad Bissessar administration to foot the cost of Abu Bakr's flight and the request was refused.
The Jamaican Government said the decision to refuse him entry into the island was "in the interest of national security, given the present threat to public safety".