Minister of National Security, Stuart Young MP. (Image courtesy Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago)

“You bring motion on National Security – take the heat!”

That was among reprimands which National Security Stuart Young fired at Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in Parliament yesterday, as he defended himself against her no-confidence motion against him.

He returned “fire” of his own as he questioned why her Peoples Partnership Government had acquired a helicopter for the army which can’t get parts for it. When Persad- Bissessar objected, Young angrily told her, “Take the heat!”

Among his rebuttals, Young said there was no application in his ministry’s system for a woman whom the UNC claimed was being denied an exemption to return home.

He said the Opposition Leader’s motion against him was filled with lies, deceit and Persad- Bissessar’s desperation to be relevant. He said as a Senior Counsel her efforts would have failed in Petty Court.

Young added, “I researched why so much time is spent on me by the Opposition – I’m in nobody’s pockets, I don’t owe anyone anything; no financier in the world, contractor or criminal can say Stuart Young owes anybody anything or they’ll do what he asks them to. I do what I believe is right – without fear, favour, malice or ill will.

“The PP/UNC had five National Security Ministers including one wanted by the US Justice Department and (Persad-Bissessar) want to talk about fire?,” he asked, adding there was also an issue with that Minister and a fire truck.

On the woman reportedly seeking exemption, Young said he noted the legal team included a UNC MP. But Young said there was never an exemption application in the system for her.

“We checked twice – there was none but I still granted an exemption,” Young said.

Regarding Persad-Bissessar’s queries about 17 people going to Guyana and returning to home quarantine, he said as diplomats they were allowed such protocols under the international Vienna convention which, he said, Persad-Bissessar seemed unaware of.

Government cannot quarantine them he added, dubbing her accusations, “Complete dishonesty,” he shouted.

When Opposition MPs objected, he retorted, “ Don’t bring to the House what you can’t handle!”

He also defenced this country exemption process as he noted the UK Home Secretary saying she wished the UK had closed borders since March 2020 and the Canadian prime minister warned countrymen they’d have problems returning home if outside.

Young also pointed out New Zealand’s closure and that Barbados has now said it may have “dropped the ball” in returning to tourism.

Young warned the UNC not to try to “pin “ on him the vertical lease for a helicopter when he’d tried to save taxpayers’ money.

He said the helicopter wasn’t for National Security but was a “limousine” between Port-of-Spain and Siparia when Persad- Bissessar wanted to fly.

He said the PP Government never implemented an ACP report on invisible migrants but the PNM did.

“I’m going on my record of National Security – you have to take it,” he told Persad-Bissessar who’d again objected.

“And don’t come here and try to mislead people about National Security when you told your team not to support the Anti -Gang and Bail Amendment bills. We tried to deal with people with automatic weapons and grenades, you wanted to give them bail.”

Young said he was supported by his colleagues, Prime Minister, constituency and right-thinking people.

He didn’t respond to Persad-Bissessar’s accusation that he flouted fire service rules at his Westmoornings apartment complex.

“Whatever post I hold, I’ll do to the best of my ability,” he said.

Female Government MPs wore the PNM’s signature red supporting Young.

Both Opposition and Government sides weren’t at full numbers for last night’s vote on the motion. Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Rai Ragbir was absent – leaving the Opposition with 18 MPs.

With Arouca/Maloney MP Camille Robinson-Regis, recuperating from surgery, the Government was left with 21.