Nafeesa terminated as PM’s adviser

Attorney Nafeesa Mohammed’s short term contract with the Prime Minister’s Office was terminated yesterday.

This was confirmed by Mohammed, who said a letter to that effect was received. She had been employed on contract as a legal adviser with the Prime Minister since last December, she added. She was a former deputy leader of the ruling PNM in previous years.

Mohammed is the aunt of Tariq Mohammed, one of the 15 people who were detained last week for questioning concerning a plot to disrupt Carnival. He was the first to be released after six days. He had gone with police voluntarily when they went to his San Juan home early on February 8. However, social media carried various reports recently that Nafeesa Mohammed had posted a Facebook statement which spoke to a “cabal” and some people being anti-Muslim, but didn’t qualify who.

Yesterday, post-termination, Mohammed said: “Life goes on. I’m ready to pick up the pieces and move on.”

Mohammed who had witnessed the police exercise of February 8 when her nephew was sought, added, “However, T&T is a very unique and diverse society and the challenge for any party in government is to manage the diversity.

“This is a time when we want to see the peace and prosperity of this nation restored and we need to come together as a country and a people - and clearly the Muslim community here in T&T needs to be better understood, particularly regarding the training the law enforcement agencies are exposed to.

“Some attention needs to be focused on the type of training in terms of their understanding of the different sectors of Islam that exist here so they can better inform their superiors and get more accurate information when they have to take action on any matters.”

Mohammed added, “If at any time we have information that anything untoward is going on, a mechanism needs to be in place for sharing of this information. We’re very committed to working with all security agencies who have their work to do and we’ll co-operate to the best of our ability, but the way this (recent exercise) unfolded left a lot to be desired>”

Mohammed said she continues to be PNM, but said the current issues have to take their course.

“Considerable damage has been done to my community, especially my family. We’re a peaceful law-abiding family who have been toiling over the years towards building a better nation of T&T and we will continue to do so,” she said.

“Our parents have left us a legacy of service to community and we operate on those principles. Certainly in my case, I’ll continue to do my part in terms of my residing here in the community and working together with all towards restoring the fabric of our society.”

Asked about the Prime Minister’s recent statements about an ISIS cell in T&T, Mohammed said, “We have no cell here, the only cell is what I’m speaking on (phone), but I see there’ve been retractions on this (from the Attorney General).

“Muslims in T&T don’t subscribe or support what ISIS is reported to be involved in and if we have information we’ll certainly make it known. We don’t want that kind of ideology and influence in T&T.”

She added: “There’s a distinction between jihadists who follow a radical line and those traditional Muslims who are peace-loving. And the majority of Muslims in T&T are moderate, peace-loving people. It’s always been so.”

Source: (Gail Alexander) 

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