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T&T gov't says it will not be silenced by opposition antics

Saturday, June 16, 2018

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Trinidad and Tobago government says it will not allow the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) to continue to “mislead and distract the population” after it accused persons of “trying to create panic, confusion and despair” in the country.

Communications Minister Stuart Young in a post on his Facebook page Saturday, said that there were persons who were seeking to destabilise the country by “circulating videos which have not originated in Trinidad and Tobago but rather, are downloaded from the internet, having originated from other countries.

“The mischief makers are putting these videos and even voice notes onto social media and they are then being circulated with the suggestion that they are legitimate and from Trinidad and Tobago,” he said, adding “this is one unfortunate by product of social media and the ease with which fake news is created and circulated”.

Young said that he was compelled to comment on “the disturbing trend of the opposition in trying to muzzle and silence the voices of the Government.

“I noted with a level of concern, the statement of the Leader of the Opposition, suggesting that the Hon Prime Minister, Minister Imbert and myself should refrain from correcting the deliberate and dishonest statements and comments of the members of her party and herself and we should not write letters correcting the record and the misinformation being spread by her members and others.

“This Government will not allow the UNC opposition or others to continue to mislead and distract the population. Part of the duty of a responsible government is to ensure that the population is provided with accurate information. It is obvious that there are some who wish to mislead the population with dishonest and destructive untruths.”

Young said he was urging all “patriotic citizens” to unite behind and support law enforcement agencies in the performance of their duties “to protect and serve us, and we will also ensure that those who desperately wish to destroy and mislead Trinidad and Tobago are exposed for who they truly are and for what their nefarious, unpatriotic agendas are”.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar said she is concerned at the plans of the Keith Rowley government to begin debate on the anti-terrorism bill in Parliament on Wednesday.

Persad Bissessar told reporters that the government was being “less than transparent” in trying to rush this debate without the benefit of the report of a Joint Select Committee (JSC).

She said she had only received a copy of the Order paper on Thursday night and had written to the authorities requesting r a copy of the JSC report, a copy of the verbatim Hansard notes of all meetings and of all correspondence.

She said she has serious concerns about the legislation because the majority of parliamentarians who were not members of the JSC “have not had sight of the report or the amended bill.”

However, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, told the Trinidad guardian newspaper Saturday that the JSC which he chaired did a considerable amount of work on the legislation and had arrived at the “best position.”

“This bill is targeted against terrorism and terrorists are persons beyond religious boundaries,” he said, adding there's nothing in the legislation that targets any particular religion.

“We have had significant stakeholder consultation. We have had a Joint Select Committee of Parliament and I am confident that the legislation is geared towards the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

“We got extensive submissions from a number of stakeholders including the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Concerned Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago, the Muslim Round Table, business associations, and the Chambers of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago,” he told the newspaper.

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