Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is questioning whether the presence of the new National Security Minister, Jack Warner, during the demolition of a camp of protesters in South Trinidad could the beginning of a trend in the Government's war on crime.
Rowley did so in an interview with TV6 News aired last night.
"Is this what we are to expect as we go forward that law enforcement is the soldiers and police come to your door with the Minister in tow to action against something that is deemed to be illegal? Tell us," Rowley asked .
The camp that was demolished yesterday was used by those protesting the Debe to Mon Desir phase of the $7 billion extension of the Solomon Hochoy Highway from San Fernando to Point Fortin.
Warner was in charge of the highway extension project when he served as Minister of Works and Infrastructure.
Recalling questions raised by the Opposition about the State of Emergency last year, "And now we are seeing something again, where the Minister of National Security in his first act, treating with something which is probably a carry- over from his previous portfolio." but now he has the power to act in a certain way."
He said the Opposition wants answers to some specific questions posed to Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and Chief of Defence Staff Kenrick Maharaj on the demolition of the protesters' camp in south Trinidad.
"Was this the actions of the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Defence Staff? Or were they irrelevant to the wishes of the Minister of National Security?" Rowley asked.
He said the Opposition is all for effective law enforcement.
Yet, Rowley, who served in the Cabinet during previous People's National Movement administrations, says the Constitution does not give Government Ministers limitless powers.
And as for Minister Warner's plan to establish what he calls a sanitised version of the Flying Squad—a disbanded unit considered a major crime deterrent by some and a hit squad by others, Rowley says whatever is done to fight crime must be within the ambit of the law.
"So whether its called flying squad or squad flying or squirrel squad it doesn't matter. It is what the conduct is and what are the objectives and the out-turns," Rowley said.
He then spoke of previous concerns he raised about Warner's tenure as vice president of football's world governing body, FIFA.
"All of what surrounds Mr Warner, he now has to prove something...he may and is quite likely to assume the role and authority of the Commissioner of Police. And if the Minister of National Security does that there are going to be complications,"Rowley said.