UNC denies minister’s claim

ANITA FIRES BACK: UNC PRO and senator, Anita Haynes, speaks at a press conference on Friday at the Opposition Leader’s office in Port of Spain. At left is senator Sean Sobers and at right, senator Saddam Hosein.  - Vidya Thurab
ANITA FIRES BACK: UNC PRO and senator, Anita Haynes, speaks at a press conference on Friday at the Opposition Leader’s office in Port of Spain. At left is senator Sean Sobers and at right, senator Saddam Hosein. - Vidya Thurab

UNC PRO Anita Haynes on Friday flatly denied that her party paid any criminal to commit crime, in reply to claims on Thursday by National Security Minister Stuart Young that some “random shootings” were perpetrated to destabilise the country and make government look bad.

At a press conference, at the office of the Opposition Leader in Port of Spain, Haynes declared, “We are not paying anybody to commit any crimes.” She accused Young of using “dangerous rhetoric” to deflect from his failure as National Security Minister to deal with crime.

Haynes reminded that it is under this very minister’s watch, that the country has sunk to murders almost daily and shootings in broad daylight. She said TT is in a crisis due to the crime surge.

“What they have chosen to do is create a fictional villain and propose a phantom figure to take responsibility for their blatant incompetence.” She urged all right-thinking people to reject Young’s rhetoric.

“He offered no evidence. He opted to use his platform to bait members of the press into a line of questioning to try to score cheap political points.” She said rampant crime was no fiction but a cold, hard fact under this government. She reminded that the very same Prime Minister Dr Rowley, had once said that excuses mean a government has outlived its usefulness.

She called on the population to reflect that back in 2015, the PNM had all the answers to crime but now, into their fifth year of governance, well over a thousand people had been murdered under their watch.

Accusing Government of four years of abject failure, Haynes said it was no surprise Young is now taking a “political line” in his remarks on crime. She said Young’s briefing should have addressed crime victims and thousands of citizens living in fear of crime. “But instead he used the opportunity to create a work of fiction and a political narrative.”

She said as an attorney, Young should know if he has evidence to back his claims, he should take it to the relevant authorities. “What Minister Young did on Thursday was cast a shadow over every citizen by saying there is somebody orchestrating chaos in this country. It is pathetic! It is detestable!” She said this government was conceived on lies, a trend which continues into its final year before the general elections.

Opposition Senator Sean Sobers said Government has failed to use new legislation as “the silver bullet” against crime. “The time for talk, foolish talk, is over.” Saying Young’s “random shooting” claim echoed the e-mailgate claim by Rowley. He hit, “Enough of the conspiracy theories. They’ll soon find themselves peddling out of office.”

Opposition Senator Saddam Hosein said when Port of Spain was earlier this week under police lockdown after a deadly shooting, Young was not on the scene, but instead found himself in the Hyatt Regency participating in refinery talks with the OWTU. Asked if the Opposition would meet Government to discuss crime, Haynes said, “It’s a little too late (for that). Call the elections!”

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