GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday, August 13, 2012 – Arson has now been thrown into the volatile mix of the near month-long protest action as some 10 buildings were destroyed by fire over the weekend.
And, the Guyana Fire Service has stated that their efforts to respond promptly to fight the blazes are being thwarted by blocked roads and in some instances hostile elements as lawlessness continues to reign in the hinterland mining village.
One of the buildings destroyed by the recent bouts of arson was the One Mile Primary School. A Joint Services statement said that the fire at Wismar, Linden, was set at around 03:15hrs, and, according to the statement, a female security guard on duty was approached by three men armed with cutlasses who threatened to kill her if she did not leave the premises.
According to reports, the guard left the compound, after which the building was broken into and computers stolen and the premises was later seen on fire.
“Once again the Guyana Fire Service fire tender could not get to the scene of the fire owing to the blockages that had been placed along the roadways by protestors,” said the statement.
However, it appears that some upstanding citizens were prepared to take matters into their own hands as authorities reported that some residents Linden of later handed over two men to the police at Wismar Police Station, who they claimed were suspects in the attack on the primary school. The two men are in police custody assisting with the investigations, the release said.
Prior to that blaze, last Friday (August 10), when the fire service attempted to responded to the first fire which occurred at the Linden Salvation Council Building, the official said that the fire tender only made it some 500 yards close to the burning building where it suffered a puncture as a result of debris on the road. According to the Kaiteur News, as the crowd started to build up the firemen were forced to retreat.
While fire men were able to respond a few hours later to a fire at the Wismar Bridge, which they were able to extinguish, in another recent fire at the NARI office, the fire service again could not get through as the roads in and around the Wismar area were blocked.
Kaiteur News reports that it was told that it was impossible for the three fire tenders which are stationed in Linden to be dispatched. Furthermore, the officials told the newspaper that the fire service has not even been able to process the first two fires which occurred on the night of July 18 when the protests first broke out. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)