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SHALIZA HASSANALI

With one week before the general election, National Security Minister Stuart Young is threatening legal action against Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the Express Newspaper for what he termed as perpetuating lies and propaganda against his father Richard Young for acting as a broker in a multimillion-dollar transactions.

Young was speaking yesterday at a press conference held at the ministry’s headquarters, Port-of-Spain.

He said he was pained and disturbed by the publication of the article. He said it was an attempt to tarnish his family’s good name.

Young said from day one in office, he made sure he did not find himself in any conflict of interest “real, potential or otherwise because I am very aware of the mischief that can occur and how people can try to spin and swing things.”

He said he knew entering public life, political opponents would attack and undermine him which he had prepared himself for.

When the Opposition could not find any wrongdoing on him as a public officer, Young said they started attacking his family—mainly his young brother Angus Young, CEO of NCB Global Finance (NCBGF) and later his retired father who served T&T for decades.

NCBGF is a Jamaican owned bank in T&T.

Young said a disturbing narrative sprung up by in 2019 the Opposition-main Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Senator Wade Mark about Young (A) defaming him.

In defence of his brother, Young said he “rejected all the spurious attacked.”

NCBFG and the Ministry of Finance also issued statements refuting their allegations.

The matter eventually died.

“I thought it had come to an end there.”

With days away from the August 10general election, Young accused the Opposition of stepping out of line by using the Express Newspaper to peddle fabrication and lies about his family.

Young was referring to an article in Saturday’s Express in which it stated that Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Young collectively recused themselves 94 times from Cabinet meetings which were provided on July 7, 2020, to attorney Dr Che’ N Dindial who made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on behalf of activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj for copies of all Cabinet Notes and Minutes for matters in respect of which either Young and Al-Rawi recused themselves.

This was because of family ties and conflict of interest in the award of multi-million contracts and the procuring of loans, among other financial activities.

The article stated that documents showed that between 2016 to 2020 Young (S) recused himself 30 times from the Cabinet when the matter involved his father who acted as a broker to the transaction or matter was under consideration.

These were shown in a “tables” format in the article.

Young denied that his father acted as a broker to any transaction under the PNM led administration, stating that the article was “timed” days before the general election to sway voters and create mischief.

Young said he received a document showing the “tables” format published by the Express about his father had been produced by the UNC which has turned out to be a lie.

This, he said was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

“It had nothing to do with the Freedom of Information, provided under the law. Accusing my father as acting as a broker to transactions before the Government…and putting a money value to it….all we have is our name….all we have is our reputation,” an emotional Young said.

Young said the article was misleading, inaccurate and full of propaganda vowing to pursue legal action against the Express, the editor and Persad-Bissessar for defamation.