Boasting that the ruling People’s Partnership coalition was all about “five years of delivery” and not “four years of neglect and one year of delivery” like its PNM predecessor, Warner declared, sometimes the change also involves a state of emergency.” Warner then condemned all persons and groups in the country who are criticising the Government for imposing a state of emergency.
“They could say what they want to say. I tell you today, the guys who are criticising the state of emergency are the guys who did not say boo for years when this country was being ravaged by crime. So don’t be worried, change is here. You could run from it. You could hide from it but change is here,” Warner quipped.
He then announced, “The Prime Minister at Cabinet last night (Thursday) instructed me to pave by night. She said, ‘Jack pave by night, pave like hell’.” Speaking with reporters after the ceremony, Warner said night paving works have already begun in Point Fortin and La Brea. He said efforts were being made yesterday to provide curfew permits to contractors to allow paving to be done “left, right and centre” throughout the country, even during the curfew hours.
Asked whether the contractors doing night paving works will be provided with police and military security, Warner replied: “The Minister of National Security (Brigadier John Sandy) was at the Cabinet meeting and when the Prime Minister said so (to pave at night), he nodded.” He added that while night paving would allow more work to be done, Warner said this might be costly to contractors and he will propose a system to pay contractors on credit.
Describing claims from the labour movement that the state of emergency was implemented to avert a national strike as “total foolishness”, Warner said, “At no point in time, this government remotely thought to use this emergency to keep the unions quiet. It is not necessary.” Claiming that plans for a national strike never had any national appeal, Warner said the state of emergency has given the trade unions “an exit strategy”. “Some of them are begging to be detained, hoping to become martyrs in some form or fashion. We won’t give them that luxury,”
Warner said Government’s decision to implement a state of emergency will be reinforced when the House of Representatives sits next Friday to debate a motion which calls on the House to note a statement by President George Maxwell Richards under Section 9(1) of the Constitution setting out the specific grounds on which the decision to declare a state of emergency in TT.
“Don’t miss it. We begin at 10am and you better make sure you have a permit because it will go on for a long time,” Warner predicted.
Asked whether he received a curfew permit, Warner replied, “Not as yet but if you give me one, I will take it.” All 41 MPs in the House are to be issued curfew permits so that they will be able travel safely to their respective homes should the debate on the motion continue past 9 pm.