Members of Team Unity meeting with Venezuelan Ambassador Rómulo Camilo Henríquez González
By Andre Huie
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- A police advisory to foreign institutions in St Kitts such as Ross University have prompted the opposition to suggest that the police are labeling the recent arson-suspected fires in Basseterre as being politically motivated.
The Peoples Action Movement’s Lindsay Grant, during an opposition Team Unity public meeting on Monday, alleged that the police in a release to Ross University claimed the incidents were politically motivated.
“I don’t know how many of you saw the release from the police to Ross University; have you seen that? Well the police released information to Ross University … and their information to Ross University goes to the effect that … the fires at the Venezuelan (embassy) and the OAS are politically motivated. And that the Ross University must stay out of basically the confines of Basseterre. And if they going out they mustn’t go alone; they must go in groups,” Grant said, adding that the police are putting fear in people’s minds.
When contacted, Inspector Lyndon David, the police public relations officer, said he did not issue such a release and if one was issued by police it did not originate from his office.
WINN contacted assistant dean for external relations and communications at Ross University, Jodi Peeler, who said the university received an update from the police regarding safety of the students but there was no mention of the fires being politically motivated. She noted, however, that the university receives updates all the time from the police and this update was no different from what they would have received. She said the university always advised students on safety measures whenever the school receives any update on crimes in the country.
Efforts to reach the police commissioner for a comment on this matter up to Wednesday were unanswered.
Meanwhile, a business place on Cayon Street was razed by fire early Friday morning, the third major fire incident for the week. The building belongs to People’s Action Movement politician Lindsay Grant.
The building on Cayon Street on Friday morning
Fire Chief Everette O’Garro told WINN the fire and rescue services responded to a report of the fire around 6:36 am and at this time the cause of fire is unknown. Ogarro said containing the fire was extremely challenging.
O’Garro noted that it will be far more challenging to determine the cause of fire as opposed to the other two fires earlier this week.
The political atmosphere in St Kitts has been tense since two fires on Sunday; one at the office of the Organization of American States (OAS) and another that destroyed the Venezuelan embassy, both in Basseterre. Both fires have been ruled as suspected arson by police and Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas has linked the incidents to opposition protest actions.
Opposition leader Mark Brantley has condemned the acts and described the prime minister’s comments as unfortunate.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network