CaribWorldNews, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thurs. July 30, 2009: Guyana President, Bharrat Jagdeo, says `the perpetrators` of a fire that razed the Ministry of Health have confessed to the alleged crime.
Jagdeo made the disclosure to the media Wednesday, two days after Clayton Westford, 19, an office assistant of 7 West La Penitence and 21-year-old Tedena Bagot, a pork-knocker of 32 Second Street, Alexander Village, appeared in court and were charged with unlawfully and maliciously setting fire to the Ministry of Health`s building. The two were not required to plead to the indictable charge of setting fire to a public building.
But President Jagdeo yesterday said `the confessed have disclosed the exact locations where the gasoline and bottles used to make the incendiary devices were obtained and the house in Meadowbrook where the planning took place.`
`Two of them are claiming they were look outs (two different ones) but they went into the building, went through the door, started the fire in the building… we know about the people who recruited these others and how the recruitment took place,` President Jagdeo disclosed.
He also promised that no stone will be left unturned in bringing to justice the perpetrators responsible for the arson.
The Guyanese President also criticized groups, which he said are focusing `on human rights issues rather than the fervent effort to apprehend the criminal masterminds responsible for such a reprehensible act.`
`I think this is disgusting but it`s a very clever strategy,` President Jagdeo said. `This is the kind of warped logic that we have in this country and it`s all a smoke screen painted deliberately so that people don`t see the real issues and the real perpetrators.`
The fire began at approximately 2 p.m. on July 17, destroying two buildings within the Ministry`s complex despite quick action by the Guyana Fire Service.
The main building and annex housed a number of offices and departments, including those of Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, the Permanent Secretary, the Chief Medical Officer, the Adolescent Health and Chronic Diseases and the Nursing Council and Registry.
Meanwhile, Jagdeo, is expected to arrive in Jamaica on Friday for a five-day working visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Bruce Golding.