Stuart Young__use

‘I have nothing to hide’: National Security Minister Stuart Young speaks during yesterday’s news conference at the ministry’s head office on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her “minions” in the United National Congress (UNC) have now “stepped over the line” by attacking the father and brother of National Security Minister Stuart Young.

Young said so yesterday at a news conference at the Ministry of National Security in Port of Spain.

Accusing the UNC of spreading malicious untruths in an attempt to gain political points, the minister said never in his “wildest dreams” did he expect such deliberate and fabricated lies to be told to the population by those who are seeking to be elected to govern this country in the next general election.

The minister also took aim at this newspaper and one of its reporters following the publication of an article on Saturday in which it was stated that Richard Young acted as broker in transactions before the Cabinet.

Young said “this is completely untrue and a fabricated lie.. At no time whatsoever has my father acted as a broker in any transaction whatsoever and certainly never in any matter that came before the Cabinet from 2015 to 2020”.

He said he and his father have since consulted with their attorneys and will be filing claims for defamation of character against Persad-Bissessar, reporter Anna Ramdass, the Express and possibly against the newspaper’s editor.

A political bullseye

In June, attorneys for political activist Ravi Balgobin-Maharaj issued a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking answers on the number of occasions Young had recused himself from Cabinet Notes involving NCB Global Finance.

That information which was released on July 7 showed that the minister had recused himself a total of 57 times between 2015 and 2020.

At the news conference, Young said as a Government minister, he always acted above board and in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago.

He said each time a Cabinet Note even made mention of NCB Global Finance, he took the decision to recuse himself.

In fact, Young said he never even discussed any business with his brother that he had tendered for as CEO of NCB Global Finance.

“I am about dignity and upholding office to the best of my ability,” he said.

Young stated that as a public figure and a “political bullseye”, he expected to be targeted by his political opponent and had never considered legal action before, but bringing his family into the picture was taking it too far.

He stated that when his political opponents were unable to find him to be involved in any type of wrong-doing, this was when they decided to target his family.

“I have nothing to hide. The timing of this is what disturbs me, one week before the election. This is not a co-incidence. There is no person, anywhere who can say that Stuart Young bent the rules... I am a political bullseye but when you involve my father’s name and brother’s name, you have stepped over the line,” he stated.

UNC: Young misled country

Meanwhile, the UNC issued a release yesterday evening questioning whether Young was attempting to mislead the country into thinking that he had called an official news conference to address issues of national security when in fact his only intention was to defend his family members.

“Lo and behold, it was to deal with his personal family business and when the media questioned him on more pressing and relevant matters such as the government’s mishandling of the Covid crisis, he said he was not there to speak about such matters.

“Citizens are understandably upset and outraged! In the midst of this terrifying Covid pandemic, his primary concern was to attack the UNC and the media for raising legitimate issues about contracts awarded by the Cabinet in which his family had a personal interest,” the UNC stated.

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