Health Ministry fire…
– Joint Services raid C/ville, South Ruimveldt homes
By Michael Jordan
Joint Services ranks yesterday detained three Campbellville residents and a South Ruimveldt man during pre-dawn raids for alleged suspects in the Health Ministry arson probe.
The three Campbellville family members were released late yesterday evening, but Kaieteur News understands that their cell phones were confiscated.
At least five people are now in custody in connection with the torching of the Brickdam building.
But relatives of those arrested yesterday accused the ranks of acting unprofessionally.
They alleged that none of the lawmen explained the reason for the raid, and residents of a Campbellville home said the ranks kicked open their front door, while searching for a man they say is a prime suspect in their investigation.
Those detained yesterday are Keith Ferrier, of National Avenue, South Ruimveldt; and Winston Tracey, his mother, Lucinda Tracey, and Mrs. Tracey’s brother, Kingsley Holder, who reside in William Street, Campbellville.
Kaieteur News was told that Winston Tracey and his two relatives were subsequently released.
Police are said to be looking for Mr. Tracey’s brother, Adrian Tracey, in connection with their investigation.
According to a source, the police ranks told the man’s relatives that investigators will check the numbers in their phones and re-arrest them if it appears that they are concealing information about Adrian Tracey’s whereabouts.
Last week, police detained Chairman for the Justice for Jermaine Committee, Heston Bostwick, a Buxton man, known as ‘Kurt’, or ‘Glasses’, who police said was wanted for several murders, and a West Ruimveldt youth.
Police sources alleged Saturday that the Buxtonian
has given a statement which implicates him and others in the torching of the Ministry building.
They said he also admitted to being part of a gang that committed several armed robberies and murders.
Police sources state that they have made some progress in identifying some of the perpetrators and ascertaining the motive for the fire which left an estimated $1B in losses in its wake.
Tricia Ferrier, wife of the detained man Keith Ferrier, told Kaieteur News that three vanloads of police and army ranks in uniforms and plainclothes arrived at their National Avenue, South Ruimveldt home at around 04:00 hrs yesterday.
She and another family member said that they were alerted to the lawmen’s presence by a loud banging on their doors and demands for them to open.
Kaieteur News was told that when the occupants finally opened their front door, the ranks entered and confronted Mrs. Ferrier’s husband, Keith Ferrier.
According to a relative, the lawmen ordered Ferrier to take off his belt, since he was “going straight to the lockups.”
He was then taken to the Brickdam Police Station and then further questioned at CID Headquarters, Eve Leary, before being taken back to Brickdam.
Mrs. Ferrier is adamant that her husband is no criminal. Up to late yesterday evening, the woman, along with relatives and friends were still standing outside the Brickdam Police Station in the hope that he would be released.
A young woman from William Street, Campbellville told Kaieteur News said that they were awakened at around 05:00 hrs by a banging at their front door.
The persons outside identified themselves as policemen and ordered the occupants to open the door.
Eight ranks in plainclothes and uniforms then entered their home, which is in the bottom flat of a two storey building.
She said that the lawmen went to a room, which an uncle, Kingsley Holder, occupied, and asked for the man’s brother, Adrian Tracey.
After being told that Adrian was not at home, the ranks, who had also searched the premises on Saturday for Adrian Tracey, began to question the other family members about his whereabouts.
The woman said that the lawmen then detained her father, Winston Tracey, her grandmother, Lucinda Tracey and her uncle, Kingsley Holder. She alleged that the ranks informed her relatives that they would be kept in custody until they provided information about Adrian Tracey’s whereabouts.
She told Kaieteur News that police ranks had initially claimed that the uncle was wanted for allegedly threatening a woman with a firearm. However, she said they subsequently alleged that he was suspected to have assisted in the arson at the Health Ministry.
The ranks also raided the upper flat, which is occupied by Candacia Phillips, her mother and two sisters.
They too were awakened by knocking on the front and back door.
“At first I thought was thief and called 911, but the phone cut off,” she said.
“My mother ask who (was at the door) and they say ‘police.’ I ask how we know is police, and they say if you don’t open the door you will see.”
Ms. Phillips alleged that after they refused to comply the men kicked the front door open.
They then began to search the premises without presenting a warrant, while informing the occupants that they were looking for a ‘wanted man.’
The ranks eventually departed without detaining anyone.
The residents were still repairing their front door when Kaieteur News arrived.
On Saturday, Clifton Westford of Lot Seven, West La Penitence, alleged that heavily-armed ranks, wearing camouflage clothing and masks, barged into his home at around 04:00 hrs and took away his 19-year-old son, Clayton Westford.
Mr. Westford said that the ranks alleged that his son was a suspect in the arson at the Health Ministry.
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