Home Letters Parliamentary motion honouring Abdul Kadir must be revoked
The citizens of Guyana should be deeply troubled by a tribute to convicted terrorist Abdul Kadir, otherwise known as “Aubrey Michael Seaforth”, passed unanimously by all 33 APNU/AFC Members of Parliament on April 26, 2019. Members of the opposition party were not present in the Assembly on that day.
Regardless of one’s ethnic or religious affiliation, Guyanese must demand that members of the esteemed legislative body rescind the motion honouring Kadir. They should do so because it is the morally right thing to do.
Failure to do so sends an extremely dangerous message to criminals and violent Islamist extremists in Guyana and the Caribbean that their evil actions can be erased by having friends in positions of power.
When the heavily scripted Honourable Valarie Patterson-Yearwood stood up in the National Assembly of Guyana and called on her APNU/AFC colleagues to honour the memory of Kadir, she deliberately expunged dark details of his life, and in doing so, made a mockery of the country’s Parliament.
Patterson-Yearwood and the Honourable Audwin Rutherford, who seconded the motion, painted the picture of a “friend” and a “colleague” who was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather to dozens of grandchildren. Patterson-Yearwood, apparently awed by Kadir’s ability to spawn his seed so profusely, admiringly referred to him as a “fruitful man”.
And so gushing was her praise of Kadir that Patterson-Yearwood made him ten years younger by getting the year of his birth wrong. Perhaps that sort of mistake can be excused these days on the grounds that this particular group of parliamentarians has recently experienced a heap of trouble in properly adding and dividing numbers.
Patterson-Yearwood got the correct day, time and year of Kadir’s death, down to the specific location of his final resting place, and yet she conveniently omitted the fact that Kadir was a convicted terrorist who died in a US penitentiary in Pennsylvania, USA, as inmate number 64656-053.
Kadir was found guilty by a court in the Eastern District of New York on terrorism charges in 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison. His conviction and the seriousness of it ought to have overshadowed everything that preceded it but that’s not how Patterson-Yearwood reads history.
It is true that during his custody and trial by jury, Kadir had consistently pleaded innocent. Why else would there have been a trial?
He claimed repeatedly that his association with his co-conspirators had nothing to do with attacking John F Kennedy Airport, but rather he was hoping to obtain financial assistance to help build a mosque in Linden, establish trade contacts and rehabilitate the men’s understanding of Islam.
However, Zainab Ahmad, assistant US attorney, disputed Kadir’s version of events. She asked jurors to consider “what kind of person comes face to face with committed terror, and says, ‘you know, I wasn’t into that idea about blowing up JFK Airport, but he seemed like a great guy to get into import/export business with.’ The very idea is laughable because it is patently false”.
During the six-week-long trial, US attorneys introduced a mountain of evidence that ultimately convinced members of the jury that Kadir had “a terrible criminal plan to teach America a lesson. A plan to destroy the economy of New York and a plan to take innocent lives”.
It is alarming, therefore, that Patterson-Yearwood would ignore all of this and boldly proclaim to Members of Parliament that “the people of Linden and Guyana have lost a great man, a stalwart, a bold and courageous man”.
Kadir had converted to Islam in the mid-1970s, but eventually, he rejected the Islam practised by the vast majority of Guyanese Muslims and became a devoted follower of Ayatollah Khomeini and a believer in the Shiite Iranian worldwide revolution.
“It is his belief that Shiite Muslims around the world should rise up and throw off the yoke of their Western oppressors,” said Ahmad in her summation to the jury.
Kadir was so devoted to Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolutionary ideals, evidence from his trial shows, that “he has been providing intelligence to the Iranian Government for years”.
To APNU/AFC Members of Parliament who applauded the motion believed that Kadir was a technically competent engineer who travelled extensively, was into martial arts, enjoyed swimming and cycling and was fluent in multiple languages.
But the jurors who found him guilty heard evidence that it was Kadir’s competence as an engineer, his leadership skills, his authority and influence among a tiny cabal of fellow religious extremists in Guyana and the Caribbean, including the notorious Yasin Abu Bakr in Trinidad and Tobago, plus his contacts in Iran’s revolutionary leadership, that drew his co-conspirators to him in the first place.
The court heard evidence – testimony, documents and photos – that proved Kadir had agreed to present the terror plot to the revolutionary leadership in Iran and that he was about to get on a plane to do just that when he was taken into custody.
What Rutherford said about Kadir is true. He was generous in his financial support for youth sports clubs in Linden. But at the same time, Kadir allowed a bank account associated with his Guyana Islamic Information Centre to be used to launder the funds for the terror attacks in New York.
What is absolutely shocking about this ill-conceived motion is that on August 30, 2017, the Finance Ministry, under the stewardship of Winston Jordan and Jaipal Sharma, froze the financial assets of Abdul Kadir under Guyana’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act.
What is even more bizarre is that both Jordan and Sharma were present in the Assembly on April 26 when the motion honouring the very person whose assets they froze less than two years ago was passed.
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