ATTORNEY Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, has called on National Security Minister Stuart Young to provide evidence to back up his claim that recent "random shootings" were being done to destabilise the society.
Young, speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing, said certain individuals have been getting criminals to shoot innocent people at random for this purpose.
The Opposition has denied any involvement in the shootings.
Maharaj, a former attorney general, responded to Young's claim after a Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha media conference on Friday at Lakshmi Girls' Hindu College.
"I have learned, when I was a minister, that when you are making statements you have to be very careful if you do not have facts to support it, or you cannot share those facts with members of the public. And the reason that I was careful as a minister was because when you make a statement as a public official, and you do not provide facts, members of the public can draw adverse inferences that you are not providing the facts to support it because you do not want the public to know."
So, he added: "It may be that the minister should try and give as much information as he can to allay the fears or the thoughts of the members of the public."
Maharaj was also asked about Young's previous claim in August last year that Opposition members were interfacing with criminal elements.
"It would be totally irresponsible for any minister of government in any administration to make allegations against either MPs or the government when there is no evidence to support it. And I believe that if a minister makes those allegations against a member of the Opposition, a member of the Opposition and the Opposition should demand that the minister provide proof."
He also said that if he was an MP he would publicly ask for proof, write asking for proof and even seek to obtain the information through a Freedom of Information Act request.
"I could probably seek to get a court order that the minister provide the information. Because it is very serious to be making allegations, either the Opposition making allegations against a government minister, or a government minister making allegations against the Opposition, if you do not have facts to support it. Especially where it borders on a criminal act or improper behaviour or lack of integrity or things like that."