Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said that the shooting death of a Venezuelan baby by the Coast Guard on Saturday was an accident and added that the Coast Guard members were carrying out "reasonable and professional orders under international protocols and law".
Baby Ya Elvis Santoyo and his mother Darie Elvis Eliagnis Sarabia were illegally entering T&T on Saturday night from Tucupita when they were ordered to stop by the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard said the vessel did not stop and attempted to ram their vessel when they opened fire.
Dr Rowley made his comment on a Facebook post as he sought to criticise Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar who, on Monday night, berated the Coast Guard for the shooting of the baby.
"IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!" Dr Rowley said using all capital letters.
"Kamla Persad-Bissessar publicly accused the Coast Guard officers of MURDER! According to her the craft should have been allowed to evade the border patrol. They should have known that there was an endangered baby on board. We regret the terrible loss of that innocent infant but what should we think of the opportunistic, shameless, attention-seeking lady who is so bereft of any scintilla of patriotism," he added.
Dr Rowley accused the Opposition Leader of having "limboed to a new expected disgusting low".
"We are inundated with guns, ammunition and trafficked humans across that border. Our border patrol attempts to stop a craft that refused to comply and acted aggressively towards lawful, reasonable and professional orders under international protocols and law. Our officer on patrol under professional orders attempted to disable the craft in the darkness of the ocean. The craft could easily have been carrying any cargo of guns, ammunition, killers or anything on the move. There was an accident in which unfortunately a passenger child was regrettably killed," he said.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has asked for an 'exhaustive investigation' into the shooting and the United Nations has also spoken out against it.
On Tuesday, dozens of Venezuelans protested in front of the Trinidad and Tobago embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, condemning the shooting as a "murder".