Leopold Street man remanded for arson at Durban St. vulcanizing shop  

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A 22-year-old man was on Wednesday remanded to prison on three counts of arson, in relation to setting fire to a property located at Durban and George Streets, Georgetown.

Calvin Lawrence of Leopold Street, Werk-en-Rust appeared before the Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and was not required to plea to the charges.

The first charge alleged that on June 24, 2021, at Lot 1 George Street, Werk-en-Rust, he unlawfully and maliciously set fire to a dwelling house valued $18M and containing articles valued an additional $6M, belonging to Collin Bentley.

The second charge alleged that on the same date and location, Lawrence unlawfully and maliciously set fire to nearby house valued $38M, owned by Nalini Baboolall, and containing articles valued $16M belonging to Kevin Phillips.

The adjoining house where the Venezuelan’s lived that was destroyed in the blaze. (Photo: News Room/ June 24, 2021)

The last charge alleged that Lawrence unlawfully and maliciously set fire to the business place of Hardat Maniram which is valued $250M and contained articles amounting to $30M.

Prosecutor Sherwin Matthews objected to Lawrence being released on bail, citing the seriousness of the charges. According to the prosecutor, Lawrence was caught on CCTV footage entering Phillips’ yard minutes before the fire ignited. He was also seen running away from the location.

The scorched western wall of Exquisite Jewellery and Pawn shop. (Photo: News Room/ June 24, 2021)

Phillips is the owner of a vulcanizing shop at the George Street building. He lived upstairs with his family of six. Maniram is the owner of Elegance Jewellery and Pawn Shop, the building located next door to the vulcanizing shop. A property which housed about 12 Venezuelan migrants was also destroyed during the fire.

The Chief Magistrate remanded Lawrence to prison until July 21.

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