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All Guns and Ammo must be accounted for

Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith has ordered an audit into all firearms and ammunition seized by police over a 20-year period. He has also instructed that the audit be extended to ensure account for all TTPS guns and ammunition.

Griffith said he took the decision weeks ago, before police seized 23 rounds of ammunition in the possession of two suspects in Arima last Sunday.

He said over the past two decades, police would have seized over 15,000 illegal guns, and he wants to know if those guns were destroyed or noted as part of police exhibits. The independent audit will begin in a month, and will be conducted by two experts in the field of guns and ammunition.

“We can’t have rogue officers renting out or making guns available to criminals. If this is taking place, we will put a stop to this. You are either a police or a criminal, and this type of action will not be tolerated”.

Griffith also revealed that all guns and ammunition issued to the police have to be accounted for, and those who cannot account for them will have to answer.

Sunwing shows interest in Tobago

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley has met with a high-lev­el ex­ec­u­tive team from the Cana­di­an-based Sun­wing Trav­el Group, just weeks af­ter Sun­wing be­gan a ser­vice from Toron­to, Cana­da to To­ba­go.

The meet­ing took place yesterday at the Diplo­mat­ic Cen­tre, St Anns.

The Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter (OPM) said that Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Stephen Hunter, Vice Pres­i­dent Daniel Di­az and Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent, Busi­ness Af­fairs Sabah Mirza rep­re­sent­ed Sun­wing at the meet­ing.

The state­ment by the OPM said dis­cus­sions fo­cused on Sun­wing’s in­ter­est in an in­creased pres­ence in To­ba­go in­clud­ing an in­ter­est in the op­er­a­tions of the state-owned Mag­dale­na Grand Beach and Golf Re­sort.

Sun­wing Trav­el Group, which is the largest in­te­grat­ed trav­el com­pa­ny in North Amer­i­ca, re­cent­ly ac­quired a chain of Rex Re­sorts’ Caribbean ho­tels and is now the own­er of Tur­tle Beach Ho­tel in To­ba­go.

Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Min­is­ter in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter, Stu­art Young, Min­is­ter of Tourism, Ran­dall Mitchell and Min­is­ter of Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment, Camille Robin­son-Reg­is al­so at­tend­ed the meet­ing.

San Fernando to get $1 Billion Waterfront Upgrade

Stakeholders are welcoming Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s $1 billion plan to develop the San Fernando waterfront.

During his address to the nation on Sunday night, Rowley said: “The San Fernando Waterfront project is a project that needs to be done so that the southern city, the second-largest city in the country with a waterfront, San Fernando in the only waterfront city in the Caribbean, or possibly the world where the waterfront is a dump.”

He said the project was one that would improve the city’s economy, and benefit the entire country.

President of the Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce Kiran Singh agreed with the Prime Minister regarding the condition of the waterfront.

He said the Chamber is anticipating the start of the project as it will bring about potential for business growth.

Singh said with the closure of Petrotrin, the Waterfront redevelopment project would provide employment opportunities.

He said King’s Wharf has historically brought economic activity but “the development of King’s Wharf has been neglected along with its historical significance, resulting in its current state of disrepair”.

There are signs that the project has begun, with the relocation of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) garage at Lady Hailes Avenue, to the formerly occupied OAS site in Golconda.

PTSC chairman Edwin Gooding said most of the derelict buses have been moved out of San Fernando.

He said PTSC is now in possession of some four acres of land at the Golconda site and by the end of February the garage and maintenance operations are expected to be completely moved.

The waterfront project includes the reclamation of 3.8 hectares of land at King’s Wharf North, at a cost of $57 million with a target completion date of 2020.

There is to be an establishment of a small fishing facility and jetty along Hatter’s Beach, the construction of a mixed-use development inclusive of medium-income housing at Lady Hailes Avenue utilising public-private-partnership arrangements, and the development of an administrative complex at Chancery Lane, San Fernando, with ten floors for office accommodation, three floors for commercial space and 300 car parking spaces.F

New security measures for visitors to T&T, Immigration Officers urged to make good impressions

New security measures are to be implemented to ensure the safety of all tourists, including cruise passengers, who visit this country.

Agreement on the measures was reached during a meeting on Monday involving the Minister of Tourism Randall Mitchell, National Security Minister Stuart Young and the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Glenda Jennings-Smith.

According to a statement from the Tourism Ministry, the closed-door meeting, which took place at the Ministry of National Security was requested by Mitchell following the Boxing Day injury and robbery of UK tourist, 72-year-old Sally Wilson while she was sight-seeing along the Queen’s Park Savannah with her husband Michael.

They came to Port-of-Spain that day among a 4,363 passenger capacity MSC Preziosa cruise line. Wilson has subsequently thanked all those who assisted her in what she described as the “traumatic” incident.

Mitchell commended the National Security services, particularly the Police for ensuring “a largely unblemished record where the security and safety of Cruise passengers were concerned.”

Mitchell said the meeting agreed that “one robbery was one too many,” and agreed that “planning and discussions between the Cruise officers at the Ministry and the Police will continue.” He said that will be done “with a view to eliminating shortcomings or potential shortcomings in the security arrangements.”

According to Mitchell, Monday’s meeting also looked at the need for an efficient, pleasant experience by visitors when being processed by Immigration officers at the Airport during what promises to be a hectic Carnival season. 

According to the statement, Mitchell, Young, and Jennings recognised that the Immigration officer is the first point of contact during a visit to this country and therefore the first opportunity to make a good impression.

T&T’s Business Is Your Business (Part Two)

In Part Two of his pre-recorded lecture, aired last night on television and broadcast over radio, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley laid out his government’s roadmap for taking T&T out of the economic doldrums and into prosperity, with diversification being the cornerstone of his presentation.

He again warned the nation, to never forget what the previous government did to this country’s economy through waste, corruption and squandermania.

Armed with graphs, Rowley spent an hour showing how his government had kept the country afloat over the past three years even while it meant the inevitable loss of thousands of jobs as state-owned oil company Petrotrin was retrofitted into the Heritage Oil Company.

He said while T&T is an oil and gas economy, there was need to diversify into other areas including agriculture, the production of aluminium cables and sheet aluminium and construction of the La Brea drydock which he said would create many jobs. Rowley said that some of the actions of the previous government had brought national revenue down.

“We had to negotiate a gas price with the gas producers otherwise they had downed tools with respect to drilling in the years going forward. You recall I went to a meeting in Houston with Minister (Stuart) Young. It was to encourage the closure of the gas price negotiation between BP and the NGC. We eventually got that done, and the minute we got a gas price agreed that BP and the country could accept, US$10 billion in investments were kicked off in T&T.”

“Because we have a good gas price and we now have a fair supply, and we have downturn access to the Venezuelan gas, the future of T&T as a gas producing and gas using country is now more secure. This hole that we were in, we had serious liabilities now because the companies that we were contracted to buy this gas made claims that the contracts allow for $4.5 billion, because if they didn’t take the gas that we supplied, then we could make claims against them. But if we can’t supply the gas that they wanted for their plants, they now make the claims against us,” Rowley said.

He said for the last year, government has been engaged with these companies in trying to negotiate away this liability for $4b. He said it was not over, they got good results and while it was not choking us, some of it was still around our necks.

“We own an oil company. It is one of the few oil companies in the world owned by the people. When that collapse took place in 2014 it affected all countries like us. Up to the point when we intervened, the prior business of Petrotrin delivered to T&T $13b in debt and the only reason people were lending Petrotrin money was because the Government owned it 100 per cent. It was against the understanding that if the company could not pay, the Government will stand the cost for the company.”

He said $4b in royalties were not paid just to allow the company to continue to stay in business, adding that was the only company in the country that was not paying taxes. He said the forecast for the company was $2b in losses every year going forward.

“We restructured the company in 2018. The debt owed by Petrotrin would be serviced by the Heritage Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of Petrotrin, so it would relieve the Finance Minister of the burden of servicing Petrotrin’s debt, which left more money for the minister to do other things in the country.”

“An oil company in TT properly managed, properly resourced should be able to produce enough oil to turn a profit. To do that we were affecting a lot of status quo and some people are not going to be happy. We couldn’t make an omelet without breaking the egg, and hopefully we would have a meal for all after breaking the egg, but we never killed the goose that laid the golden egg.”

Rowley said in the way of diversification the new Phoenix Park will be used for manufacturing aluminium cables and make sheet aluminium and aluminium wheels for cars. He said the methanol plant will also be on stream. He said the drydock at La Brea will invite ships to come in for repairs.

He also said that he has approached the private sector with proposals to invest in agriculture in the over 1,000 acres of agriculture land that has been laid to waste in Aripo. “This is job creation. These areas of employment will generate jobs.”

PM’s ‘It’s Your Business’ Address (Part One)

Lay­ing his man­age­ment plan in the first part of his two-part ad­dress to the na­tion yesterday evening, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley said his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plan for the coun­try would cost tax­pay­ers $12.5 bil­lion—less than half of what his pre­de­ces­sors wast­ed. The $29 bil­lion in wast­ed funds, he in­di­cat­ed, was cold hard cash which was on hand and this fig­ure ex­clud­ed oth­er forms of ex­pen­di­tures.

With­in his plan in­clud­ed ex­pen­di­ture on projects such as $2 bil­lion on re­pairs at the Port-of- Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal, cre­at­ing a La Brea dry dock, and on hous­ing pro­grammes re­spec­tive­ly.

He al­so planned a $1 bil­lion ex­pen­di­ture on the Drag­on gas pipeline, re­sort tourism project, the To­ba­go air­port ter­mi­nal, pur­chase of two new fer­ries for To­ba­go, and the San Fer­nan­do wa­ter­front project re­spec­tive­ly.

Row­ley al­so put forth ex­pen­di­tures of $850 mil­lion for the con­struc­tion of the San­gre Grande Hos­pi­tal and $600 mil­lion for the pur­chase of two Coast Guard ves­sels.

“Look at the things that have not been done in Trinidad and To­ba­go and which now fall for this gov­ern­ment to do,” he said “and if we had ac­cess to this kind of cash, or to bor­row against it look what we could have done (point­ing at his list­ed projects and plans).”

Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal

In 2009, the main tow­er in the Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal was as­sessed by en­gi­neers to be struc­tural­ly un­sound and fol­low­ing last Au­gust’s 6.9 mag­ni­tude earth­quake which shook the coun­try. The Gov­ern­ment was forced to evac­u­ate the tow­er in or­der to tear it down and re­build it. “If we had built that, and that was deemed a pri­or­i­ty of the Gov­ern­ment of Trinidad and To­ba­go in 2009—it is now be­ing ad­dressed,” he said.

La Brea Dry Dock

Row­ley said this project is be­ing done to cap­i­talise on the coun­try’s ge­o­graph­ic prox­im­i­ty to the Pana­ma Canal so that ships that are tra­vers­ing the At­lantic to the Pa­cif­ic through Pana­ma could get ser­viced in T&T, cre­at­ing jobs and gen­er­at­ing for­eign ex­change in­come. “The Chi­nese are of­fer­ing to come in with us. They will take up 30 per cent, we would have to be good for 70 per cent,” he said.

To­ba­go

“For the last 36 months in this coun­try, the con­ver­sa­tion, the biggest scan­dal in my Gov­ern­ment ac­cord­ing to some peo­ple is the fer­ry, the fer­ry, the fer­ry, the fer­ry,” Row­ley said.

He said the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion mis­man­aged the two used fer­ries which pre­vi­ous­ly ser­viced the in­ter-is­land sea bridge, “run­ning them in­to the ground.” He blamed the Peo­ple’s Part­ner­ship ad­min­is­tra­tion for now forc­ing them to have to pur­chase two new fer­ries to help ser­vice the sea bridge. Row­ley al­so blamed the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion and naysay­ers for deny­ing To­ba­go a San­dals re­sort which they would have con­struct­ed to help di­ver­si­fy the econ­o­my and bring in much-need­ed tourists.

The To­ba­go air­port ter­mi­nal, Row­ley said, was nec­es­sary to bring the is­land’s tourism in­to mod­ern times. “As it stands now if a jum­bo jet lands in To­ba­go and starts to of­fload or is load­ing, peo­ple are out in the carpark wait­ing to get on the plane and if it’s rain­ing, you can’t get off the plane in­to the air­port—that is not how you do tourism in 2019. We need a prop­er air­port ter­mi­nal and we do­ing that now,” he said.

San Fer­nan­do Wa­ter­front project

The Prime Min­is­ter said this project is nec­es­sary to boost the city’s econ­o­my as, “San Fer­nan­do is the on­ly wa­ter­front city in the Caribbean and pos­si­bly the world where the wa­ter­front is a dump.”

Row­ley stat­ed that the ex­ter­nal fac­tors in the world­wide oil and gas in­dus­try were ex­ac­er­bat­ed tax breaks of­fered to en­er­gy com­pa­nies by the for­mer gov­ern­ment, with rev­enues falling from $17 bil­lion in 2014 to $1 bil­lion in 2016.

“What this did was what­ev­er tax­es we were li­able to get go­ing for­ward, even in a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion, we gave that up in those con­ces­sions,” he said as he not­ed that his gov­ern­ment was work­ing on rene­go­ti­at­ing the deals.

“Those dis­cus­sions are open, we have had some agree­ments so far and they con­tin­ue in some ar­eas,” he said.

Row­ley al­so stat­ed that in 2015, T&T’s month­ly gov­ern­ment ex­pen­di­ture was ap­prox­i­mate­ly $5 bil­lion with $4.75 bil­lion in rev­enue and $250 mil­lion in loans. Ac­cord­ing to Row­ley, the cur­rent fig­ure stands at $4.3 bil­lion in ex­pen­di­ture, $4 bil­lion in rev­enue and $300 mil­lion in loans.

“It does not mat­ter who you vot­ed for or where you live, the coun­try could not con­tin­ue like that oth­er­wise the coun­try would end up in bank­rupt­cy,” Row­ley said.

He al­so not­ed that his Gov­ern­ment was able to im­me­di­ate­ly save $50 mil­lion a year by re­duc­ing the size of his Gov­ern­ment from 33 min­istries to 23.

“We had to cut the waste and cor­rup­tion and we made de­ci­sions to in­crease rev­enue,” Row­ley claimed.

He went on: “Some jobs would be lost, some busi­ness­es would have to strug­gle, but we must do what the rev­enue al­lows us to do and to do it on a sus­tain­able ba­sis.”

While Row­ley stat­ed that his Gov­ern­ment was able to re­duce the month­ly ex­pen­di­ture through aus­ter­i­ty mea­sures, it still had to bor­row in an ef­fort to pay pub­lic ser­vants, to pro­vide so­cial ser­vices for cit­i­zens and stim­u­late long-term eco­nom­ic growth.

How­ev­er, Row­ley was care­ful to note that his Gov­ern­ment was en­gaged in re­spon­si­ble bor­row­ing un­like the short-term arrange­ments utilised by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment in the run-up to the 2015 gen­er­al elec­tions.

“We are re­duc­ing the amount we are bor­row­ing, not be­cause we don’t want to spend, but we want to bring the econ­o­my to a po­si­tion of sta­bil­i­ty where we can, year af­ter year, seek eco­nom­ic growth,” he said.

He re­vealed that dur­ing that pe­ri­od, the Gov­ern­ment bor­rowed $ 4 bil­lion for sev­er­al State en­ter­pris­es in­clud­ing the Es­tate Man­age­ment and De­vel­op­ment Com­pa­ny (EM­BD), Caribbean Air­lines, the T&T Elec­tric­i­ty Com­mis­sion (T&TEC) and the Na­tion­al Car­ni­val Com­mis­sion (NCC). He said that the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment al­so sad­dled his with $5 bil­lion in debt by com­plet­ing salary ne­go­ti­a­tions with pub­lic ser­vants on the eve of the elec­tion.

“They were giv­en a pay in­crease and the mon­ey was not there,” he said.

Row­ley al­so al­leged that be­tween 2010 and 2015, the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment wast­ed $29 bil­lion in cash-$16 bil­lion from the Na­tion­al Gas Com­pa­ny (NGC), $6 bil­lion from the Cen­tral Bank and $9 bil­lion in over­draft fa­cil­i­ties.

“In fact, be­fore the elec­tions, they went in­to the NGC four times,” he said as he not­ed that the Gov­ern­ment usu­al­ly re­ceives an an­nu­al pay­ment as the ma­jor­i­ty share­hold­er.

As he ques­tioned what the funds were used for, Row­ley claimed that they could have been bet­ter utilised on projects that would stim­u­late and di­ver­si­fy the econ­o­my.

“They have the un­mit­i­gat­ed gall to tell this gov­ern­ment and you the peo­ple to put them back to con­tin­ue do­ing this,” Row­ley said.

Tonight at 8pm, the PM will address Part 2 of the National Report explaining plans to move Trinidad and Tobago towards a brighter future.

Carnival security plans discussed, Cops to get Tasers & Pepper Spray

Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith has re­vealed the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice an­ti-crime mea­sures for the Car­ni­val sea­son to of­fi­cials of the Na­tion­al Car­ni­val Com­mis­sion (NCC).

A press re­lease is­sued by the TTPS cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions unit yes­ter­day af­ter­noon stat­ed that the plans were dis­cussed as Grif­fith toured the fa­cil­i­ties at the Queen’s Park Sa­van­nah. 

While the re­lease stat­ed that Grif­fith said that the Na­tion­al Op­er­a­tions Cen­tre will be ac­ti­vat­ed to as­sist in man­ag­ing safe­ty and se­cu­ri­ty dur­ing the sea­son, it gave no fur­ther de­tails of oth­er planned mea­sures that were dis­cussed. 

“The strate­gies were well re­ceived by all stake­hold­ers, who ex­pressed their in­ten­tions to work close­ly with each oth­er, to en­sure that Port-of-Spain, the coun­try and all cit­i­zens are safe and se­cure for Car­ni­val 2019,” the re­lease said. 

Al­so present dur­ing the tour were NCC chair­man Win­ston “Gyp­sy” Pe­ters, NCC CEO Coll­in Lu­cas, Se­nior Supt Ethel­bert Aguilal of the Guard and Emer­gency Branch (GEB), Se­nior Supt Floris Hodge-Grif­fith of the Port-of-Spain Di­vi­sion and act­ing As­sis­tant Chief Fire Of­fi­cer Mervyn Layne.

TTPS

Members of the TT Police Service’s Emergency Response Unit will begin training next week in the use of Tasers and pepper spray, Police Commission Gary Grifith said today.

The training is expected to be completed by month’s end and the 600 selected officers will be assigned specially designed belts to hold pepper spray, a Taser, batons, a firearm and handcuffs.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert, in the 2019 budget, said the Government had agreed to purchase the belts.

When he was national security minister Griffith had strongly recommended the use of non-lethal weapons, including pepper spray and Tasers.

Griffith said, “I have seen Tasers, tested them and the next course of action is to make a selection and order but we are going to start training on how to use them. Depending on the escalation of threats, officers will utilise the items on the belt to minimise and subdue threats.”

CoP – Fixin T&T’s rep comments irresponsible & reckless

In a strong­ly-word­ed state­ment yes­ter­day, Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith de­scribed as “ir­re­spon­si­ble and reck­less” state­ments by Kirk Wait­he of Fix­in’ T&T on the use of force by po­lice of the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS).

Grif­fith, who re­peat­ed much of what he has pre­vi­ous­ly said on the is­sue, ex­pressed con­cern about claims the he is di­rect­ing po­lice of­fi­cers to break the law.

He said: “This in­di­vid­ual has re­gur­gi­tat­ed the same me­dia re­lease ten times on the same top­ic, and he has now turned his con­cern to the la­bels at­tached to those crim­i­nals who kill, rape and mur­der in­no­cent law abid­ing cit­i­zens.”

The Com­mis­sion­er re­it­er­at­ed that a po­lice of­fi­cer who hes­i­tates dur­ing a con­fronta­tion with a crim­i­nal can be killed.

“The use of force pol­i­cy for the TTPS states that dead­ly force can be used if an of­fi­cer’s life is at risk. In con­trast, the ir­re­spon­si­ble and reck­less state­ments by Kirk Wait­he when he states that the Com­mis­sion­er is not ad­her­ing to the use of force pol­i­cy, demon­strates his in­abil­i­ty to un­der­stand that ‘one shot, one kill’ equates to the use of dead­ly force when re­quired,” he said.

Grif­fith added: “One won­ders why Fix­in’ T&T’s sole rep­re­sen­ta­tive and spokesper­son nev­er chose to seek a meet­ing with the Com­mis­sion­er to dis­cuss his is­sues and con­cerns, rather, he chose to con­tin­ue to is­sue mis­lead­ing and in­flam­ma­to­ry state­ments.

“Hence leav­ing one to won­der if there is any re­al in­ter­est in want­i­ng to se­ri­ous­ly ad­dress his con­cern or sim­ply to seek me­dia at­ten­tion.

“The Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice re­it­er­ates to all of­fi­cers to con­tin­ue to per­form their du­ties as they were so trained to do, and em­pha­sis­es that he will con­tin­ue to fight for the rights of of­fi­cers and law abid­ing cit­i­zens alike in keep­ing with the rule of law.

“The CoP gives the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) and all law abid­ing cit­i­zens his as­sur­ance that no one man ac­tivist group with an agen­da can al­ter the Po­lice Ser­vice’s po­si­tion.”

TTPS signs MOU with NYPD

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the New York Police Department (NYPD). The MOU was signed by Commissioner of Police of the TTPS, Gary Griffith and Commissioner of Police for the City of New York, James O’Neil on Thursday, at One Police Plaza, NYC, USA.

This agreement solidifies and strengthens cooperation between the TTPS and NYPD within the framework of preventing and combating transnational crime.

Both parties have agreed to cooperate in preventing criminal acts relating to: Illicit Drug Trafficking, Terrorism, Human Trafficking, Cyber-crime, Money Laundering and Arms smuggling.

There will be cooperation in areas of exchange of intelligence and information, training and education as well as sharing of best practices for law enforcement personnel.

The MOU also speaks to the formulation of policies and procedures to enhance counter-terrorism and transnational crime. Both parties have agreed to continuously evaluate policies, programs, and activities which are implemented.

Young- Inundated with phone calls but will not change his phone number

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.”