St. Vincent fire looks fishy, pol claims

Arnhim Eustace
Arnhim Eustace

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Vincentian opposition leader Arnhim Eustace says that documents destroyed in last week’s fire at a government public works facility were records of local residents who had received donations of the materials stored at the warehouse prior to last month’s general election.
Eustace rejected suggestions that his New Democratic Party may have been involved in the fire that destroyed the facility and building materials stored there.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, at a news conference, appeared to link opposition protests over the results of the Dec. 9 general election to the fire.
Eustace alleges that some of the material stored at the compound had been used by the government in the recent election campaign to bribe voters.
“In that compound they normally stored things like lumber and galvanize and steel belonging to government and would have been one of the main areas where the lumber and galvanize that they gave out during the elections, some 13 to 14 million dollars would have been stored in that area,” Eustace said.
He contended that the facility was “associated with politics in that sense because you would see trucks lined up there early in the mornings before the elections just taking materials to various people in the countryside who support the government.”
According to the opposition leader this was government property being used for purely political purposes.
He says the ruling party has greater reason to have wanted the public works building razed to the ground.
Some local observers have noted that the records held there may have been required as evidence in an upcoming court case brought by the opposition alleging election fraud.
The ULP led by Gonsalves won the general election by eight seats to the opposition NDP’s seven.
Eustace and his party have refused to recognize the election results.