PORT OF SPAIN — National Security Minister Jack Warner said yesterday he never said he had instructed the police to withhold this country’s crime statistics.
He said as of yesterday, he as minister would keep his mouth shut and not reveal any statistics.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Jack had said, “I decided with immediate effect that no figures of any kind would be given anywhere and murder reports are to be given quarterly as necessary and not daily as is the case.
“I have also instructed the police not to reveal any figures for murders and this is done so as to take away from the Opposition’s design to create mischief where none existed, it is wrong.”
Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams said on Wednesday that he (Warner) had no authority to stop the police from releasing crime statistics and it was their legal obligation to so do.
Williams had also said he received no instructions from Warner on gagging the police on giving crime statistics.
When questioned at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on Williams’s statements, Warner said he had intended to instruct the police of such, but had a change of heart.
“I never told the acting commissioner of police or anybody in the Police Service anything about the statistics being revised or not being revised or saying that they shouldn’t say, I have never told anyone that in the Police Service,” said Warner.
Asked what he had indeed told the police, he responded: “But I just told you, I did not tell them and I don’t think it is prudent for me to tell you what I told them, I did not tell the police anything about withholding statistics.”
Told that his exact words on Tuesday were, “I have instructed the police”, Warner said: “When I spoke to the media when I was in the Parliament, I said that I intend to instruct the police along those lines and between the Parliament and when I met the police I of course had a change of heart, it is not unusual.”
Asked why he had a change of heart, he said: “I don’t even know why I should say why I had a change of heart.”
Told that former members of the Police Service were of the view that he may not know his boundaries as minister, Warner said: “If I did not understand my boundaries … I would have spoken to the police … I want to repeat, I did not discuss with the police about statistics anywhere.”
Pressed further, Warner said: “Since you didn’t hear what I said I want to repeat again, I did not discuss with the police anything about statistics anywhere at anytime… I did not do that because I know where my boundaries are.” (Express)