Police are now confirming that their initial investigations have revealed that the Venezuelan building was intentionally set on fire, and an abandoned vehicle; motor car P7809 was found at the scene and taken into police custody along with other items. Two (2) persons are currently in police custody assisting with the investigation, they added. Their identities however have not been revealed. This is usually only done once formal charges have been made and the suspects officially arrested.
About 4:15 am on Sunday 5 January 2014, officers of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, along with the K9 Unit, Fire and Rescue Services Department, Ross Island Constables Unit, K9 Unit, responded to a report of fire at the Venezuelan Embassy. The building was engulfed in flames and despite the efforts of the Fire and Rescue Personnel they were unable to save the building and its contents.
Also, earlier, officers of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, along with the K9 Unit, Fire and Rescue Services Department, Ross Island Constables Unit, K9 Unit, responded to a report of fire at the OAS Mission Building. A section of that building was set on fire, but was extinguished by the Fire and Rescue Personnel. Investigations revealed that the building was intentionally set on fire, said a police statement on Tuesday.
Both fires have been condemned by the Prime Minister and government as well as members of the opposition, including Opposition Leader, Mark Brantley. They have also spoken with the resident representatives of the two missions, expressing their regrets and horror over the incidents.
However, in a nationwide address on public radio Monday afternoon, 6th January, Prime Minister Douglas appeared to be intimating that the fires were politically motivated and perhaps had the knowledge of those opposing his administration. This has been rejected by all major opposition party leaders, including Dr. Timothy Harris of the PLP, former PAM Leader Lindsay Grant, and Opposition Leader Mark Brantley, the Deputy leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement, CCM.
On the other hand, some have suggested that the fires were set by sources inside or close to the government as a tactic designed to win public sympathy, in what could be a year of election, where the stakes are high.
Members from the opposition have also visited officials from the OAS and Venezuelan Embassy, according a release they issued Tuesday.
Police meantime are calling on anyone with information to contact the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at 465-2241, ext. 220, 230, 231, or, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 (TIPS).