National Security Minister Stuart Young this afternoon accused members of the Opposition of reaching out to criminals to garner greater support for next year's general election.
At a press conference at the ministry, Temple Court, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, Young said he was concerned by evidence that members of the opposition were openly endorsing people with criminal records on political platforms.
He referred to an incident last week in which deputy political leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Jearlean John brought onstage a man who had been shot several times.
"As the government we encourage the participation of the youth in the decision-making process, but upon further investigation we have now uncovered that this person who was brought onto a UNC political platform has had 22 criminal charges laid against him over a period of time.
"This is a very worrying turn of events, and when one traces the history of the UNC, it seems as though this is coming straight from their playbook.
"Today I am placing the public on notice: please be on the lookout for this type of behaviour and activity."
Young said the man in question has charges ranging from wounding with intent to kill, possession of ammunition and driving under the influence.
Asked about the government's own interaction with reputed crime figures, Young said his party, the People's National Movement, does not endorse criminals.