The fire-ravaged Venezuelan Embassy. (Photo: T. Sergeant)
By Clive Bacchus
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The Venezuelan embassy in St Kitts was burnt to the ground overnight Saturday, while the Organization of American States (OAS) office in Basseterre escaped major damage but showed signs of attempted arson on Sunday morning.
The buildings are located streets apart in Basseterre and other buildings in the neighbourhood were not directly affected.
“What I want to do is condemn what I see as a malicious act and attempt to cause confusion and create instability in the country,” OAS Ambassador Greene told WINN 98.9.
“The fire was kept at one window and it didn’t spread beyond the window… I met investigators here ...they found a rag soaked in kerosene, it seems, at this window and at another window,” Greene revealed.
“But at the second window, thank God that was not ignited, is really where the propane tank is placed and so we are glad that particular window was not ignited but there were two areas of attack,” he added, while indicating that he had already apprised his immediate supervisor in Washington DC about the incident.
Greene said there are indications that the OAS office was attacked before the Venezuelan embassy.
“There are indication that the OAS office was the first line of attack and when things did not work out as planned it seemed as if the perpetrators may have gone elsewhere and probably to the Venezuelan embassy but from what I was told here was the first line of attack and thank God it was not successful.”
Fire Chief Everette O'garro confirmed that the Basseterre unit responded to a report of a fire at the OAS office just after midnight and was able to stop it spreading to other parts of the building. The fire service then responded to a report around 4.30 am that the Venezuelan embassy was on fire but on arrival the entire building was already engulfed in flames and could not be saved.
The fire chief confirmed that arson was suspected at the OAS building due to what was discovered there but stopped short of blaming arson for the destruction of the Venezuelan embassy.
“What I can say is that we discovered some items that may be of evidentiary value but we have not made the determination that arson was involved in this case,” Ogarro told WINN 98.9 on Sunday.
WINN understands that Foreign Minister Patrice Nisbett visited the scenes and a Cabinet meeting was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network