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Monday 9 December 2019
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Young holds meeting on murders

Stuart Young
Stuart Young

Fourteen murders over the past week have compelled National Security Minister Stuart Young to hold a meeting with divisional heads of the police, members of the TT Defence Force and other intelligence services to discuss how to deal with the recent spate.

Young told the media that yesterday after the closing ceremony of the Book Buddies programme he sponsored for children in his constituency at Nalis, Port of Spain.

"I've been in constant communication with the heads, the Chief of Defence Staff, our Commissioner of Police, our intelligence services sharing ideas and initiatives, so this afternoon we would be meeting, and I want those things implemented," he said.

On Sunday, three people were killed in Laventille; on Monday two were killed, one of whom was Raymond Choo Kong; Tuesday had no murders; on Wednesday two men from Laventille and one from Sangre Grande were killed; two KFC workers were killed on Thursday in unrelated incidents and a man from Belmont was shot dead as well on Thursday; and on Friday a man from El Socorro was killed, as at 4pm. Asked if some of the murders were related to box drain contracts for gang members, Young said he was going to get briefed on that. He added that the police also have to work on gathering sufficient evidence to charge people under the Anti-Gang Act.

"We have to build out the evidence for people to be charged under the anti-gang legislation. So it's easy to say: 'By the way, somebody's a gang leader,' but let's charge them under the specific legislation, the anti-gang legislation, and if they are involved in gang activity, let's get them before the criminal court on charges and they could be dealt with that way."

Young said there is no one-dimensional way to tackle crime, but with different initiatives, alternative avenues could be found for children to explore rather than getting involved in crime and gang activities.

Young sponsored 69 students from his constituency from 14 schools to be a part of the Book Buddies reading programme. He also recently opened a library in Barataria.

"When I was opening that library, I spoke about getting library services expanding in the prison system. It's a lot of things that has to be done, but right now as Minister of National Security – we have to try and claw this thing back to give citizens a feeling of hope."

In an unrelated matter, Young also confirmed the Venezuelan registration cards were approved this week and the government has the machine to start processing them.

"We expect to start distributing them. I'm starting off my meeting with immigration this afternoon discussing that ,and supposed to get a sample card, and they have gotten my approval and signature, and I expect this to be rolled out in the next week or so."

On Thursday the World Health Organization recognised Ebola as an international public health emergency. Young said the country has protocols in place to deal with Ebola and they will be quickly activated if it is suspected a person is infected.

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