OUTGOING Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds said a growing "army" of idle young men in East Port of Spain poses a danger to TT.
"And I urge them to root out of their spirits the spirit of evil and the spirit of idleness and the spirit of jealousy, and imbibe instead a spirit of hard work and a spirit of prayer and a spirit love for yourself, for your family, for your community, for your country."
He was speaking with Newsday at the Red House on Friday.
Asked what he thought when he saw the protests over police killings in East Port of Spain last week, Hinds replied: "I have always been very aware that we've had a growing army of young men in those communities who spend their day looking at the ground, looking in the sky, or watching other people and the world go about it's business and doing precious little on their own and for themselves.
"I have always surmised that that condition poses a danger to them, to their families, to their communities and to this country. So it is quite clear that they need to be made busy and to get involved. There are a million and one opportunities for them to get involved."
He said he spoke to some young men on Friday from Picton in Laventille and they told him "plenty of the fellas we see around here they don't want nothing good. They want money but they don't work. They want to go to heaven but they don't want to die. They don't want to sweat.
"And then you have people who understand this and are quite prepared for a few dollars or to further their own political agendas and their fanciful ideas about coming into Parliament on the backs of fellas who can't think clearly. Who will use them. The (Naparima MP) Rodney Charles-es of this world will come down the (parliament) corridor and say 'PNM eh do nothing for them' and get currency from it sometimes. And the (UNC deputy political leader) Jearlean Johns of this world, and the (former Chaguanas West MP) Jack Warners of a time past, and now the (activist and politician) Kirk Waithes and the (New National Vision political leader) Fuad Abu Bakrs come to talk stupidness to the people. But the people themselves know the truth. They know in their hearts that the fault is not in their stars, not in the Government, not in the PNM, but the fault is in we ourselves by failing to take up the opportunity."
He described talk about people being unable to get jobs because of their address as "bunkum."
"But there are those who are prepared to use the ignorance and the frailty of those people and trying to persuade them that the PNM is their enemy and the police is their enemy."
He pointed out the Venezuelan contingent in TT have found work. He recalled visiting a car wash recently and all 16 workers were Venezuelans. He also said jobs are being advertised daily in the newspapers.
Hinds said there are a million and one opportunities in TT including with programmes and institutions like YTEPP, Civilian Conservation Corps, MIC, UTT, the Laventille Technology and Continuing Education Centre and the TT Hospitality and Tourism Institute.
"There is absolutely no shortage of opportunity for young people here."
Hinds said there are issues in the community including weak parenting, poor examples and gangsters "running the roost" and influencing young boys.
"And my job is to show them a better way."
Asked what he has done to address this issue,Hinds replied "a million things" including assistance to start businesses.
Asked about claims that politicians were feeding a dependency syndrome, inds said he does not believe any government or politician would set out to do that and that is something he has spoken out against.