BARATARIA/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein has claimed the difficult economic situation created by the Government was forcing people into committing crime.
Hosein was making his maiden contribution as an MP (he was previously a senator) in the House on Monday.
He said the most burning issue in TT is crime and citizens are terrified, afraid for their safety and the safety of their loved ones.
"And as the Government continues to place the heavy burden on the population through the loss of jobs and more taxes, you will see a direct increase in the number of robberies and other related crimes."
He said there has already been an increase in the number of home invasions.
"They have forced people to lose their livelihoods and forced them to turn to a life of crime just to survive."
He said for the past five years TT has seen an unprecedented rate of crime, and predicted it will only get worse. He reported in San Juan in just one week there were four robberies, including one in which the owner of a popular grocery on the Eastern Main Road was shot and killed.
Hosein said Government has terminated crime prevention programmes and reduced police resources, resulting in low detection rates. He added on the matter of convictions, the Chief Justice has complained the criminal justice system is on the verge of collapse.
Youth Development Minister Fitzgerald Hinds described as "shocking" Hosein's statement that Government forced people to commit crimes because of poverty.
"It's as though he is justifying the commission of crimes in this country, that the Government forced people to do it.
"I want to ask him one thing – who forced the former AG and a former senator to find themselves in certain places today?
"The Government had nothing to do with that. In fact they were the government when the mess took place with those alleged crimes."