THE Prime Minister has responded to criticisms of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith's "one shot, one kill" policy saying police are not trained to shoot people in their hands and feet and that a moment's hesitation can cost an officer his/her life.
At Conversations with the Prime Minister on Thursday night at the Exodus Panyard in Tunapuna, a woman also expressed concern about the policy.
"The crime in the country out of hand, yes we know, but we looking for you to give the opinion. I don't like how Gary Griffith send to shoot to kill the youths knowing the youths, the people commit crime are sick people. You supposed to give..."
The crowd murmured "no" in response and one woman said, "You stay right dey." The woman said if a man commits a crime he is supposed to end up in prison but the police force is killing them. "But we don't like it." Rowley in response said the "shoot to kill" statement by Griffith was correct.
"Mr Griffith, the Commissioner of Police, simply says very clearly that if a citizen – and whether is 'dem boys, your boys or who boys' – acquires a firearm and shoots at a police officer, under the laws of TT, the police officer has been trained to return that fire."
This comment was met with rousing applause by the audience. Rowley continued: "That is the law. He also pointed it in response to some of you saying 'well if you have to shoot when they go to kill yuh shoot them in their hand and in their foot.' All Mr Griffith says is that if you look at the training that you the taxpayers have provided to the policemen, there is no target practice at the police range for hand and foot."
He said Griffith also pointed out that anyone who had the experience of having a gun pointed at them or discharges it a fraction of a second where there is a hesitation to respond and try to aim for the individual's hand "which is not part of your training may cost you your life."