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Nevis government condemns police chief's 'shopping for arson' comment
Published on May 16, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Clive Bacchus

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The Nevis Island Administration has described comments about the fire that destroyed the Nevis Financial Complex in January, attributed to Commissioner of Police C.G. Walwyn, as “dangerous.”

Commissioner of Police C.G. Walwyn
Walwyn reportedly stated in an interview on Tuesday that he believes that the Nevis Island Administration is shopping for an arson outcome to the fire.

The reported comment follows Nevis Premier Vance Amory’s statement on Thursday May 8 that an investigation by a Canadian retired fire chief had ruled the fire as arson.

Amory said he had commissioned the Canadian expert after the federal government failed to meet an estimated US$70,000 to US$100,000 requested by another team of investigators, to complete the task.

In the interview, Walwyn raised questions about the work of the fire chief.

“I would like to know how could someone throw objects into the building when the building was secure?” the commissioner asked.

“And, one thing you have to mention is the building had faulty wiring and the week before that, they had a report of fire on one of the lines outside and based on what is written, I would like to know how the persons got the items inside the building and I would like to know what are these items that they found and, if this place was burnt to where it bent steel, where is the residue from these accelerants?”

The NIA said on Thursday that it stands by the contents of the forensic fire report it received.

“It is a dangerous suggestion by the Commissioner of police to state that this administration was ‘shopping for an arson outcome to the fire,’” the NIA said in a written statement issued on Thursday.

“This assertion attacks the integrity of this administration but also the integrity and professionalism of the forensic team which undertook this investigation, retired Toronto fire chief Riches and his wife,” it read.

“It is unclear why the commissioner would wish to suppress these troubling findings. The administration hopes that now that a report from an expert has been obtained that the good men and women of the Royal St Kitts and Nevis Police Force will work tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice."

Contacted by WINN FM this week, Walwyn declined to comment beyond saying that he was still awaiting the report from the company that did the initial investigation.

“I spoke to them last week so am waiting a response,” he wrote, in an emailed response.

The Nevis fire occurred after a spate of fires earlier in January on St Kitts: one scorched the OAS building, another destroyed the Venezuelan Embassy and yet another destroyed a building owned by opposition politician Lindsay Grant.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
Reads: 3238

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