NATIONAL Security Minister Jack Warner has sought to clarify his claim that the People’s National Movement (PNM) was responsible for a murder in Laventille yesterday which broke a broke a 30-day cease-fire in the area.
In a statement issued last night, Warner also attempted to clarify his order to police officers that information related to murders not be disclosed to the media, as an interim measure to decrease crime.
Warner had made the statements while speaking with reporters during the lunch break of the budget debate at Parliament, Tower D International Waterfront, Port of Spain on Tuesday.
Shortly after Warner's comments were aired on the television news, Warner issued the following press release.
ISSUE: "PNM MURDER"
"The statement was inferred to a select few front line opposition members of Parliament who have continued to make negative statements which may have the effect of nullifying the gains made over the last month, instead of looking at ways in which we could work together to ensure the statistics remain in check.
This in no way includes the membership of the party - even though I may not agree with their political affiliation, I respect them as citizens of this country.
I am incensed when I hear of "but one murder."...we have always said one murder is one murder too many - let us agree not to use this as a political football but to engage in supporting the men and women of the protective services in continuing the excellent work they have been doing - and the gains they have made."
ISSUE: "NOT REVEALING CRIME STATS"
"The intent of this measure is to seek to ensure that crime statistics are not sensationalized thereby acting as a domino effect in certain hot spot areas and causing an escalation of crime in that hotspot area.
The issue is not about withholding the statistics - it is about the management of the sensitive information that many times is released along with the statistic that always has the potential to inflame additional crime - particularly when treating with the issue of gangs and the 'gang culture'.
For instance, there is no issue with stating that there may have been a homicide in area 'x', the issue becomes more challenging when the information released includes the homicide in area 'x', along with the homicide being gang related, and involving person 'y'...this is a recipe for unnecessarily inflamed tensions.
Therefore my statement was earmarked to avoid unnecessary murders and escalation of crime in hot spots, and not in any way a means of muzzling the freedom of information, and I apologize if it may have been taken out of context ".