Aug 13, 2012 News Comments Off on One Mile Primary School torched, suspected arsonists detained, 25 others held
– men who invaded site threatened to kill female guard
Arsonists struck once again in the wee hours in Linden yesterday, completely destroying the One Mile Primary School after threatening to kill the lone female security guard on site.
A Joint Services statement said that the fire at Wismar, Linden, was set at around 03:15hrs, but Lindeners are adamant that persons with ulterior motives torched the school.
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 remove from the location or if she attempted to raise an alarm.
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.”
“Later today, residents of the Linden community brought in and handed over two men to the police at Wismar Police Station who they claimed were suspects in the attack on the One Mile Primary School. The two men are in police custody assisting with the investigations,” the release said.
One of the suspects was allegedly administered a sound thrashing, after he had been identified by a security guard.
“This man was smelling of gasoline, when people catch he, and on top of that he did already ship out he family earlier; but nobody didn’t suspect anything is when word spread that he get catch then people realize wha de going on.”
According to reports, one of the arsonists, who is well known in the community confessed to torching the school.
Residents and some Opposition members are adamant that persons other than the protesters were paid to torch the school.
APNU’s Rupert Roopnarine said that he has seen compelling proof that One Mile Primary was not burnt by Lindeners. He said that Lindeners have a great interest in their children’s education and would not commit such a cowardly act. According to Roopnarine, the fire was set by provocateurs that are paid to carry out evil acts.
“Heaven knows what other buildings they have burnt but what I can tell you is that Lindeners have no interest in destroying their community and the properties that have to serve them…these are people who are going out and trying to get uniforms for the children” Roopnarine told Kaieteur News.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Alliance For Change (AFC) reiterated its call for Linden to be treated as the top national priority, while expressing the party’s “outright condemnation” of the acts of destruction of properties in Linden, whether privately or publicly owned.
“Such acts must stop now!” the statement said.
“In light of the escalated tension, reports of lives being threatened and buildings being burnt, it is imperative that the parties at the centre of the negotiations, namely the Government and the representatives of Linden, get back to the negotiating table.”
However, AFC voiced its concern that the present situation may be used by the government to delay the implementation on the steps agreed to during the negotiations “and this makes it even more important for the parties to re-engage.”
The party also said that it is deeply disturbed over reports that children, the elderly and infirm were affected by tear smoke during the Joint Services operations yesterday.
It said that the Guyana Defence Force needs to be reminded of their commitment to operate according to international standards.
Further, the party affirmed its call for the police force to have “due regard” for the fundamental and constitutional rights of the citizens at Linden.
“We advise that the use of tear smoke and other methods of crowd dispersion be carefully considered and used only as a measure of last resort.”
The AFC reiterated its call for the people of Linden to ensure their demonstrations are peaceful and said that the community must guard against criminal elements infiltrating and hijacking their legitimate protest.
The party asserted that the President’s failure to go to Linden “is a day lost in resolving the situation.”
“The Donald Ramotar regime has shown it is selective in its approach… as the Head of State, it is his responsibility to have the situation peacefully resolved.”
At least nine buildings have been destroyed by arsonists since the Linden protests began.
Yesterday, the National Commission on Law and Order (NCLO) asserted that solutions will be found through continued consultations, resulting in conciliation among all parties.”
NCLO said that it had noted “with great concern and distress” the breakdown in law and order in the town of Linden and the resulting regrettable loss of life of three persons during a confrontation with police, on the Mackenzie – Wismar Bridge on 18th July, 2012.
NCLO expressed condolences to the relatives of the deceased Shemroy Bouyea, Ivan Lewis and Ron Somerset and hopes for a speedy and complete recovery of those persons who suffered injury.
The Commission said that it welcomes the immediate declaration by President Donald Ramotar in the pursuit of a Commission of Inquiry into the specific and encompassing circumstances related to the tragic incident.
NCLO added that it “greatly appreciates” that the Terms of Reference for the Commission of inquiry benefited from bi-partisan support, and agreement, and sees this as the foundation for deferring a national crisis.
The commission said that it supports the right to peaceful protest and the uninterrupted pursuit of social, cultural and economic activities, and secure livelihoods by all Guyanese, “but this must be within the parameters of law and order.”
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