PORT OF Spain, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government has dismissed opposition claims that a state of emergency (SOE) exists in the volatile Laventille area, along the east-west corridor where a number of people have been murdered so far this year.
National Security Minister Austin Jack Warner has accused the People's National Movement (PNM) of "politicising" the current ceasefire and lowered murder even as he acknowledged an increase in police and soldiers in the area.
"We have soldiers and police in the area. I am hearing some foolish talk that there is a state of emergency or enforced emergency and tomorrow (Monday) will talk about that in parliament," he told reporters as he attended a Church service to celebrate 100 years of Benedictine presence in the country late on Sunday.
“Everything for them is politics and therefore they would love to see death in Laventille. Nothing would give them greater joy than to see people fall by the pits in Laventille," Warner said.
The government has in recent time heaping praises on itself for curbing the killings in the area with Finance Minister Larry Howai during the presentation of the TT$58.4 billion (One TT dollar = US$0.16 cents) last Monday also telling legislators that there had been mo murders now for 10 days.
So far more than 300 people have been murdered here with the east west corridor accounting for a significant number.
Last week, Leader of the Opposition Business Marlene McDonald said that there had been an unofficial SOE in Laventille and called on the government of Kamla Persad Bissessar, which last had instituted an SOE to state publicly whether the residents in the volatile area had been placed under a similar SOE with a curfew.
During the budget debate over the weekend, Parliamentary Representative for Laventille West Nileung Hypolite denied the government’s assertion that there had been no killings in recent days, pointing to the murder of a young man in the Beetham Estate.
"The Minister of National Security is now saying that there has not been a single murder in Laventille for 26 days. Mr Speaker, that is not true,” he said.
But Warner dismissed the statement as “lunacy” adding that the legislator is not fully aware of the boundaries of his own constituency.
"That is the mentality of the PNM, it is a sick party and a sick leadership," said Warner, who is expected to make his contribution to the budget debate later on Monday.