Minister of National Security, Stuart Young has been inundated with phone calls, even in the wee hours, since his cellphone number was exposed by Opposition activist Devant Maharaj.
“I can only tell you my personal experience,” he said at yesterday’s briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. “There has been an inundation of calls and messages, etcetera.”
Many callers claim to be ex-Petrotrin workers, but he could not verify their status, he said.
“I’m getting messages and they start off by saying, ‘I’m an ex-Petrotrin worker in ‘these’ circumstances.’ I am engaging them, saying, ‘Please provide your name and your address, giving them my official e-mail address, to then send whatever their complaint is. So if I can help, I would assist…
“There have also been a number of calls at various hours, including the wee hours of the morning, some with identifiable numbers, some saying’ no caller ID.’
“Personally, I am not changing my phone number. This is something we just have to deal with. I think it was a very irresponsible and dangerous, potentially dangerous move by that individual.”
Young said the Opposition has not distanced itself from the disclosures of the phone numbers of Cabinet ministers.
“To me it’s all a PR stunt, and a very shallow PR stunt. As a member of the Government and holding one of the portfolios, which is national security, I just press on and continue to do my work and do what I have to do for TT. I will continue to ignore them and whatever silly games they want to play.”
Asked if he got messages to make him blush, as reported by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, Young grinned and said, “I’m not getting into that area. I’ll leave that for my colleague.”
He said that as a minister, people would “call, write, e-mail, text” him to convey their concerns.
Young chided Maharaj’s disclosures of ministers’ personal phone numbers. “There needs to be some level of concern. Persons may see it as a joke, persons may see it as frivolous, persons may want to engage in that space – ‘This is how I have dealt with it, these are the type of messages I get.’ But there is a security element and a concern with it. There’s no doubt about that.
“You are all tech-savvy people and you all know about traceability of smartphones and the types of apps out there. So I personally find it very irresponsible, very immature behaviour.”
He scoffed, “But I expect nothing more.”