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UNC Senator Anita Haynes, centre speaks during a Press Conference at Opposition House, Charles Street, Port of Spain looking on left is Sean Sobers and Saddam Hussein right.

Public relations officer of the United National Congress (UNC), Senator Anita Haynes is accusing National Security Minister Stuart Young of “trying to score cheap political points,” by alleging some link between the rising spate of crime and murders to some “phantom figure,” as she staunchly denied that the Opposition has any involvement with criminals and gang leaders during the 2019 local government election campaign.

Young alleged on Thursday that criminal elements were having communications and conversations with Opposition (MPs) with respect to the choice of local government elections candidates.

He expressed concern about what he described as a new trend involving incidents taking place which appear to be random shootings at people not involved in criminal activity.

He claimed that there were people involved in pushing the crime wave because they want to create a sense of fear and panic among citizens.

Raising questions about why certain people would carry out random acts of violence against law-abiding citizens, stating that one reason being was to destabilise the country, insisting that law enforcement agencies have been trying to connect the dots based on intelligence gathered.

But at a press conference yesterday, Haynes who was joined by Senators Sean Sobers and Sadam Hosein lashed out at Young for what they described as his “irresponsible and reckless rhetoric” to score cheap political points.

She said, “It was an entirely made-up story. They are playing a very dangerous game of putting T&T in a space where every election they are trying to win it under some cloud of allegation or conspiracy theory. He (Young) is engaging in propaganda. We want to assume it is their campaign strategy. It was their campaign strategy in 2015.”

Haynes said Young has been trying to paint a “fictional villain and to propose a phantom figure to take responsibility for their blatant incompetence” to curb the spiralling crime wave.

Haynes said Young was only “deflecting and distracting” from his failures even as the country has been facing a crisis.

Quizzed if Opposition MPs had any interactions with criminal elements and gang leaders during walkabouts in communities during last year’s local government election campaign, Haynes fired back, “absolutely not!”.

She said she was unaware of any plot to bring down the Government.

Hayne said if intelligence has been gathered and credible information found, then Young should go to the police.

Pressed if political parties have been paying criminals to commit crimes, Haynes said the UNC was not involved in such illegal activity.

“We are not paying anybody to commit any crimes. This destabilisation that you are seeing is a result of four years of incompetence and mismanagement.”

Questioned as to whether the UNC will move a motion in Parliament against Young, Haynes said that was a decision their “parliamentary caucus will take in due course.”

Will the UNC meet the PNM to have anti-crime talks again?

Haynes said the PNM’s has no intention of reducing the crime/murder rates while the UNC has been painted as an obstructionist by the Government.

“Will we meet with them? It is a little bit too late,” Haynes said.

Hosein wondered whether “the big fish” Young alluded to had any political involvement.

“For him (Young) to do so he will be a hypocrite,” Hosein said, stating that the Diego Martin Corporation which the People’s National Movement controls had handed out “millions of dollars of contracts to known gang leaders in this country and then you come to tell us there is political involvement in the spike of crime. That is the height of dotishness in this country from the Minister of National Security.”

Hosein said every time something goes wrong in the country the government would throw blame on someone else and not deal with the real issue.