GNIC says no evidence fire at Laparkan bond was act of arson

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…seeking full report from Fire Service

The Guyana National Industrial Company Incorporated has said that there is no conclusive evidence that the fire that destroyed its bond last week was the work of arsonists.
It was Acting Fire Chief Gregory Wickham who on Thursday last told the media that at the end of the completion of their investigation of the fire, they unearthed evidence that leads to arson. He said it was now up to the police to pursue the suspect.

However, in a statement last Friday GNIC sought to discredit the Fire Service finding. The company said in pursuance of its responsibilities under the ISPS Regulations, it operates a Close Circuit Television Monitoring System (CCTV) on a 24 hour basis. Central to this system is the positioning of a wide range of cameras in a number of strategic areas on the Wharf and Bond among other.
“GNIC Security Department in the process of its own investigation as to the origin of the Fire conducted a review of the CCTV Footage in the presence of the Guyana Fire Service and the Guyana Police Force and have since handed over the footage to the respective agencies.”

The company said, it is rather strange that during the joint review there has been no conclusive evidence of the alleged arson which seems to be now circulating in the press. “GNIC is in the process as is the norm of obtaining an official report on the findings backed by evidence thereof of the Fire and those activities that follow from this particular catastrophe.

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In the circumstances, GNIC wishes to request that the media refrain from making allegations and/or unsubstantiated claim about this particular incident to all and sundry,” the statement added.

The company also addressed several other issues relating to the fire, but not before saying it was deeply grateful for the collaborative efforts of various agencies, in particular, the Guyana Fire Service and the Guyana Police Force for their quick response to the blaze, which occurred within the GNIC Complex destroying the Laparkan Bond during late Sunday evening (January 16, 2022) and in the wee hours of Monday morning (January 17, 2022).

“Since this unfortunate incident, there have been several misleading and inaccurate reports which were published via some media houses.

In these circumstances as well as in the absence of an official report from the Guyana Fire Service and/or Guyana Police Force, GNIC is now forced to refute these erroneous allegations by establishing the following facts.”

GNIC stated that its Fire Prevention System meets the basic requirements of the Statutory Safety and Fire Requirements inclusive of a Fire Plan and Response Mechanisms. More particularly, GNIC said it has installed in all of its departments, an adequate complement of fire extinguishers which are monitored and controlled via a Health and Safety Officer who was formerly in the employ of the Guyana Fire Service. That staffer has been in the company’s employ for the last 26 years.

“It should be noted that access to the bond area where the fire seemed to have originated and where the fire equipment was housed might have been constrained due to the area being a Custom Bonded Area and for which there was dual control,” the statement said.

The company said for the Press to be alluding to the unavailability of Fire Fighting Equipment within the Company without verification nor merit is unfortunate and rather ludicrous.

“The other significant misleading statement which is being circulated is the insinuation that the fire might have been caused by improper storage of chemicals which is totally false and without substance. GNIC operates a specialised facility for the storage of chemicals. That facility was designed and constructed under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has since provided the necessary approval for the storage facility. This facility is far removed from the Bond Area where the fire occurred, hence the erroneous reporting in our opinion can only serve to create unnecessary alarm and ignite fear in the public domain.”
The GNIC said it is rather strange that the said that media houses did not first seek to verify the unfortunate remarks before making the releases in this regard, available for public consumption.



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