Georgetown, Guyana—(October 3, 2021) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali this morning said that his Government will spare no effort in investigating the circumstances surrounding the recent destruction of several public buildings by fire.
The President made the comment during a visit to the temporary police offices that have been set up at the St Stanislaus College, in the aftermath of a fire on Saturday that destroyed over 80% of the Regional Police Division 4 ‘A’ Headquarters at Brickdam, Georgetown.
The historic Brickdam Station is the third public building to go up in flames within the last few months.
In mid-June, the North Ruimveldt Multilateral Secondary School was partially destroyed by fire. It was followed by the Mabaruma Secondary School just under two weeks ago. A preliminary investigation by the Guyana Fire Service into the Mabaruma fire, later revealed that the destruction was an act of arson.
The Head of State during his visit earlier today said that he is very concerned by the recent trend and will be seeking international assistance to solve the case while preliminary investigations take place.
“To say I am not bothered would not be a true reflection of how I am thinking. I am bothered because this is not the first public asset that we have lost… this is coming on the heels of threats made on the capital city from New York, this is not the first time, and I am not going to take this lightly… out of concern and out of an abundance of caution at this early stage, we will not spare any effort in reaching out for international support…to investigate, to follow any lead and to ensure that our capital remains safe and stable”.
Additionally, the President said that he was disappointed by the response of the Guyana Fire Service, during Saturday’s fire. He noted that since entering office, his administration has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to equip the fire service with the necessary resources to do its work, and it was sad to see the institution not live up to expectations.
He stressed that there must be a strong system of accountability and a sense of professionalism for those persons who perform public services.
“The State can’t provide you with basic things like equipment for you to wear as fire officers and you turn up without them. It means that you are not in any state of readiness to respond to an emergency, it means that from a personal level you are not taking the job that you are entrusted to do with the level of seriousness that is necessary… we can’t be making investments in state apparatus and state institutions and do not get the results from those investments”.
The Head of State added that he has already requested a list of all the persons in the diaspora who would have worked in a senior position within large cities, in an attempt to retain their expertise and infuse it locally.
He, however, commended the ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) within the St Stanislaus College compound for their valiant efforts at ensuring that there was no loss of service to the public, amidst the destruction and devastation caused by the fire.
The President said that his Government is already assessing the acquisition of resources for a more permanent solution.
Minister of Home Affairs, the Honourable Robeson Benn; Commissioner of Police (ag) Nigel Hoppie and other senior members of the GPF also visited the temporary offices.
Meanwhile, following the President’s visit, the GPF via a statement said that their officers have managed to get a video confession from a prisoner who claimed to have started the fire.
Investigations are ongoing.