PORT OF SPAIN — National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday stated he was duped by Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing to meet with gang leaders.
Warner was reacting to yesterday’s lead story in the Express, headlined Govt meets gang leaders, at the post-Cabinet media conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
Warner had confirmed on Wednesday that he sent a representative from his ministry – chairman of the Office of Law Enforcement Policy Keith Renaud – to attend a meeting on that same day with gang leaders at the St. Paul’s Street Multipurpose Facility.
Warner yesterday outlined the genesis of the meeting, saying he was a victim of entrapment by Lee Sing and questioned whether Wednesday’s meeting with the gang leaders was a People’s National Movement plot.
He stated the People’s Partnership Government, led by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, would not negotiate with any criminals.
According to Warner, last week, he received a request from Lee Sing to meet at City Hall on August 15.
Warner said upon entering the mayor’s office, he was “surprised” to see president of the Public Services Association Watson Duke, another PSA member and “two unidentified individuals who, I gathered from statements made later, wished to leave behind them a life of crime”.
Lee Sing explained the meeting was convened by him (Lee Sing) in an effort to assist in the reduction of crime in the Laventille area, Warner said.
“I was taken aback by the nature of the meeting and asked what was expected of me. I was told by the Mayor, Louis Lee Sing, that a co-operative approach and consultation with those who sought peace in Laventille would be productive, and he proposed a larger meeting on Wednesday, August 22, at St Paul’s Street Community Centre at 10 a.m,” said Warner.
“I took the decision that the meeting of last Wednesday … I was in some ways duped into attending, and I felt that the one that was being planned for yesterday (Wednesday) should be one that should involve the law enforcement officers,” added Warner.
“I left the place of entrapment, which is the mayor’s office, which I believe had been intended for me, and I immediately called a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams; the deputy Commissioner of Police, Mervyn Richardson; and the Chief of Defence Staff, Kenrick Maharaj,” Warner continued. (Express)