“One of the most disturbing things that have come to us as a Cabinet in the last 20 months.” Young was speaking yesterday during an Opposition motion on crime in the House of Representatives.
He said that the previous administration did not lay in Parliament statutory reports on interception of communications between 2010 and 2015 when it is supposed to be laid annually.
He explained the reports would say how many people were intercepted, how many warrants were sought and what happened to it.
He recalled that former government minister Devant Maharaj went to court over the reports not being laid but the judge pointed out that Maharaj was part of the administration that had not laid the reports and did not grant the order He said National Security Minister Edmund Dillon worked with those responsible for the report and got it done.
Young reported that in 2013 only nine warrants were sought by the Commissioner of Police from the courts but “no warrants were sought by the body charged with the responsibility and who has the possession and the control of the equipment, the Strategic Services Agency (SSA).” He said that the number of warrants applied for by the SSA was zero.
“So under them for a whole year they didn’t apply for a single warrant. But you know what’s interesting? Let me tell the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
You want to talk about talk on phone and who spying on who (sic)? In that year not a single application was made to court for a warrant but they listened to 283,418 conversations.” He said not one of these conversations were for evidential purposes.
“Macoing,” said some Government members.
Young questioned if this was the reason the previous administration did not want to file the report when they were in government. He said this administration would not be so irresponsible and they laid the report in Parliament in the first year they were in government.
He also criticised the previous administration on the LifeSport project for “breeding” the Carapo gang and other gangs, for damaging relationships with foreign partners on security - relationships which the current administration has had to rebuild - and for dismantling facial recognition installed to recognise known criminals at the ports of entry from 2010 to 2015.