Even as suspicions abound regarding the origin of the Regent Street fires Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee says comments made of the coincidence of the four fires that affected one particular family cannot be ignored.
Yesterday, he told media operatives that he has asked the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Fire Service, as well at the Guyana Power and Light to dig as deep as they can and find as much evidence as possible to determine the cause of the most recent fires, both of which allegedly started at buildings owned by the Hamids.
He said, “There are many things in common and so many suspicious elements that make one want to come to certain conclusions.” However, the Minister said that he is awaiting the findings of the experts.
He said that having been to the most recent fire scene he personally noticed two or three persons mingling and dropping hints to cast doubts on the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to link the fire to the utility company.
The Minister said that there has been a spate of blackouts but based on conversation with GPL officials, it is yet to be determined if the fires were electrical in origin. “What I found strange was these individuals were mingling in the crowd tending to influence people to believe that this was a matter that GPL was responsible for.”
He questioned why it is that persons would be in the crowd spreading misinformation and creating prejudice against the utility company when he was told that GPL has categorically stated that the people in the crowd were not from its staff.
The Minister said that he has spoken with neighbours who heard an explosion coming from one of the buildings at about 3:30hrs. “Soon after the explosion they saw someone running in an easterly direction out of the alleyway between Charlotte Street and Regent Street.”
He said that he leaves it up to the GPL, the Fire Service and the Guyana Police Force to file a report about their findings of the origins of the fires. However, he said that from a layman’s perspective, there are a number of suspicious factors that lead him to believe that “there is more in the mortar than in the pestle.”
The Hamid family suffered fires that destroyed their bond on Saffon Street, a few years ago. Then fire destroyed another building of theirs on Upper Regent Street. The two most recent businesses were destroyed along with other businesses less than two weeks apart.
Meanwhile the Minister in noting that he has received reports of persons puncturing the hoses chided truck and heavy-duty equipment, drivers for driving over the hoses willy-nilly during fire service operations.
In this regard he says “we are revisiting the standard operations procedures with respect to fires …where hoses have to go far distances so that vehicles drive over hoses creating problems.”