Young: Life Sport was UNC crime plan

National Security Minister Stuart Young - ROGER JACOB
National Security Minister Stuart Young - ROGER JACOB

National Security Minister Stuart Young says the seeds of the current crime situation were sown by the UNC.

Speaking at the 18th sitting of the House of Representatives on Friday, Young said the only UNC's crime plan was the $500 million funnelled into Life Sport Programme that turned out to be a plan to promote crime.

"The UNC's whole government approach to promote crime was Life Sport. Ask anyone in intelligence what we are dealing with, and the seeds sown in Life Sport are what the country is reaping now.

Young claimed people were murdered as a result of that programme.

"It was over $500 million paid to a criminal enterprise that sprung up along the east-west corridor. That is their answer to crime and criminality."

He was contributing to debate on a private motion brought to "condemn the Government for its failure to deal with the rampant crime."

Young accused the Opposition of politicising crime and then pointing fingers at the Minister of National Security and the Prime Minister for the high crime levels when there has been a nine and 15 per cent decrease from 2018-2019 in the murder rate and all serious crimes and a 12-13 per cent decrease in 2019.

He said the failure to control and maintain the increase in crime "over the years" was to be blamed.

Gang activities and illegal guns are the main reason for the uncontrollable increase in murders, Young said, and the Opposition is guilty of orchestrating plans to boost criminal activity for personal gains by refusing to support anti-gang legalisation.

"The tool for a drastic decrease in crime is the passing of the bail and anti-gang legalisations since over 80 per cent of murder involves gang activity."

He said, currently, 77 to over 80 per cent of murders are committed through illegal firearms.

Young said the Opposition found issues with the appointment of a commissioner of police in 2018 and then refused to support the bail amendment and anti-gang legislation.

"It was on three occasions UNC told the nation they will not support anti-gang legalisation. It was when the citizens screamed they need bipartisan support to tackle the scourge of criminal activity the Opposition finally capitulated and supported."

Young then asked the Opposition, "Who it is to stand to benefit from an increase in crime in TT?"

According to Young, the UNC continues to block initiatives to tackle issues relating to crime including the bail amendment bill.

"All the police is asking when we catch these persons with these illegal weapons do not permit them bail. Again the Opposition refuses to support that."

He said if that was done the Commissioner of Police could bring down the crime rate by half.

The bill was passed with amendments where only suspects with previous convictions would not be granted bail.

Young said although the number of shootings had decreased, AK-47 and AR-15 guns being used by criminals were powerful enough to kill victims instantly.

"These are weapons are for war and the vast majority of our police officers don't have these weapons.

"We came to Parliament and said anyone found with these types of guns should not be granted bail only for 120 days for the police to start and finish the case. The Opposition again said they will not support."

Young accused the Opposition of purposefully attempting to keep the murder rate high just to strengthen its attack on the government for failing to control crime.

"If we want to tackle crime, why is it the Opposition is not supporting bail amendments to stop persons from being in possession of automatic firearms? Why is it the Opposition will not support legalisation to criminalise prisoners having a cellphone and communicating with those on the outside."

He said, still, the police have been able to charge a significant number of criminals after the passing of the Anti-gang Bill, even though the UNC voted against the legalisation twice.

Young said as the UNC removed facial recognition at the Piarco Airport, dismantled the intelligence services, mismanaged six coast guard interceptors, and funnelled millions into failed crime programmes.

He said the current Government had ordered two Cape Class patrol vessels which are expected to be here by 2021.

Government is now focused on border security to stop to illegal flow of firearms, restorations of the coast guard vessels, re-establishment of the Special Evidence Unit and CCTV enhancement. Soon the government will introduce a National Intelligence Fusion Centre, Young said.

He said the multi-agency approach by the government is working and is bearing fruit.


"Young: Life Sport was UNC crime plan"

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