Jack Warner is urging youngsters to be more like Sunil Narine and choose sport over crime.
The National Security Minister made the call on Saturday night as a guest speaker at the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board's (TTCB) 56th Annual Presentation Ceremony, held at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce Building, in Couva.
"If our young men, every one of them can be a Sunil Narine," Warner said during the function, "then we won't have the crime problem we have today."
Warner was appearing on behalf of Minister of Sport Anil Roberts. As he spoke, the sound system intermittently broke, causing Warner to state that it was probably a "PNM mic".
"Go ahead, Rowley, go ahead," Warner said to bursts of raucous laughter from the crowd.
The former FIFA vice president hailed Narine for being named as ICC Emerging Player of the Year, and described the off-spinner as "one of the world's most promising talents".
Warner declared that T&T does not "begin and end in Laventille", saying that there are positive role models in sport that the country's youth could follow as alternatives to crime. He pointed to the Ministry's "Hoops for Life" basketball initiative, and said they were also considering using cricket in the same way.
Warner also paid tribute to T&T's 2012 London Olympic javelin throw gold medallist Keshorn Walcott, as well as Brian Lara, who was on Saturday inducted into the ICC's Cricket Hall of Fame.
Warner reversed his previous assertion that "cricket is dying", and credited TTCB president Azim Bassarath for what he felt were improvements in national cricket.
Warner said he remains hopeful that West Indies' comprehensive series victories in their last home tour over New Zealand were signs of "better days".
"The (West Indies team) I know, they can be very good at breakfast, and by lunch time, (they're) a disaster," he said.
Overall, Warner feels it is now an "enjoyable time" for cricket in Trinidad and Tobago.