Trinidad authorities to “fight fire with fire” in response to violent crime

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Trinidad’s National Security Minister Gary Griffith was quoted as saying the Ministry of National Security would be adding to its arsenal very soon (Credit: Caribbean/360/Bigstock)

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday June 23, 2014, CMC – Asserting that these are desperate times, the Ministry of National Security plans “fighting fire with fire,” and will be racking up its armoury to take on criminals.

This message came in a statement from the ministry late Saturday following the killing of a man by police officers in a shootout, the subsequent shooting of a soldier in Desperlie Crescent, Laventille , and a confrontation between contingents of lawmen and residents earlier in the day.

National Security Minister Gary Griffith was quoted as saying the Ministry of National Security would be adding to its arsenal very soon Armoured Personnel Carriers that would allow troops to enter these high risk hot zone areas and be able to stabilize any threat or attack on law enforcement.

Media reports, apparently based on information from police, indicated that just after midnight a police patrol attempted to approach three men, but was met by gunfire. The lawmen returned fire, killing a 19-year-old man, said to be among the three. The other two escaped.

According to the newspapers, hours later residents blocked access roads to Desperlie Crescent with debris and set it ablaze. Police responded in large numbers, explosions were heard, and an off-duty soldier was shot in the knee.

With no reference to the dead man, the Ministry said, “Earlier today (Saturday, June 21) a member of the Trinidad & Tobago Defence Force was shot and wounded while in company with another young man in Block 8, Laventille. The Inter Agency Task Force responded to the location and was met by a group of persons who were engaged in the blocking of roads and burning of debris the IATF has since cleared the area and has maintained a presence in the location.

“The Minister of National Security is standing firm on the approach to fight fire with fire,” the release stated.

“The Minister reiterated that these were desperate times and called for desperate actions that were more firm and more focused. He reminded the law abiding citizens that the Ministry of National Security and all of its Divisions and Services would not stand by and allow a small percent of criminals to hold this beloved country under siege.

“Anyone found to be promoting public disorder or intimidation, especially in the acts of illegal protests and blocking of roadways, inclusive of burning debris that endangers lives and property will be treated with the full process and actions of the Law,” the release added.

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