Former national security minister Jack Warner said yesterday the crime-fighting measures announced on Thursday by the Prime Minister were “nothing new” as they were formulated during his tenure.
On Monday, Warner wrote to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar urging her to implement a number of measures which were developed when he was national security minister.
On Thursday, following a meeting with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and his team, Persad-Bissessar announced some strategies which include the formation of a rapid response unit; training of Special Reserve Police; expansion of the CCTV cameras operation; establishment of a citizens security programme; and using social intervention measures in the communities.
“What has she (Persad-Bissessar) said that is new? All she has not done is to enable credit to the author of those proposals which is quite alright because I remember she went to Mid Centre Mall for the anniversary and didn’t recognise a single piece of work from the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure at that time,” said Warner.
The interim leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) said the question now was who was going to implement these measures as someone of “mettle” was required to so do.
He said the views from the public and, in particular, the police, army, coast guard and cadets should be gathered on whether they believe that National Security Minister Emmanuel George was capable.
Warner noted that George was not present at the meeting with the Government and Opposition on crime and acting National Security Minister Clifton DeCoteau “does not even understand what ministry he has”.
George is out of the country.
“This is a joke, this is a farce, this is good optics because politics is about optics,” said Warner.
He claimed during his run as national security minister he faced pressure from the Cabinet when he tried to get things done.
“I had resistance from the Cabinet, I had resistance from the National Security Council ...people don’t understand sometimes the kind of frustrations I’ve been through. It took me seven months for them to approve permission to buy covert vehicles for the police. We had the money in the ministry, $11 million, it was there for seven months and they refused to renew the contract,” said Warner.
“They were asking me week after week, month after month to find new contractors, of course contractors who would have benefitted them. I wasn’t interested in that. The police were comfortable with the contractors which they had.”
He added that for two years now he has been pressing for a new system to appoint the Commissioner of Police (CoP).
“When I went into office, the day Gibbs was terminated from office under me, I made a proposal, I went to the AG and said, let us change the law, that was almost two years ago, now you have less than two years to go and they talking the same thing over and over.”
Warner said during his tenure he hosted a family day and job fair at a cost of $6 million and he was criticised for this.
Warner said his method of fighting crime in East Port of Spain and Laventille worked as he went walking in the communities with the CoP and his team.
He said he was also present in schools and churches in Laventille.
“For 35 days there was not a single murder or bullet in Laventille because the Commissioner of Police and minister were going from pillar to post.
“I have looked at the picture with the Prime Minister and Rowley and the AG laughing and I remember on the platform she was making the point to say that Rowley said the enemy of my enemy is my friend. ... Well, since Rowley attacking the ILP so bitterly and since she attacking the ILP so bitterly, I could now say that the enemy of my enemy. ...” said Warner.
He said the People’s Partnership Government has been in office for more than three years and its promises have not been kept.
Warner pointed out that structures such as the Magnificent Seven, President’s House and Tarouba stadium are still in the same state they were in three years ago.