Arsonist inmate Clarence Greene returns to fire-ravaged Brickdam Police Station
By Kurt Campbell
Clarence Greene, 26, the Princes Street, Georgetown man who allegedly set fire to the Brickdam Police Station on Saturday, returned to the fire-ravaged compound on Monday where debris, including burnt vehicles, were being removed.
A visibly saddened Greene was accompanied by senior police detectives and investigators from the Guyana Fire Service. It appears he was tasked with walking the detectives through the series of events on Saturday that led him to start the fire. After several minutes inside the lockups, Greene was taken back into a waiting police vehicle.
Pieces of mattresses were also removed from the building; Greene, according to the police, has already confessed in a video recording of his involvement in the incident. His task on Monday seemed to be one aimed at providing a more detailed recount of what transpired on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in a bit to find the family of Greene, the News Room made attempts to locate his house at the address given by the police. It turns out the lot number does not exist and no one along the stretch of road seemed to know who Greene is.
Police said Greene was arrested early on Saturday for armed robbery but after several hours in the lockups, he became frustrated and started the fire which destroyed over 80 per cent of the Brickdam Police Station.
During his alleged confession, Greene told investigators that he tore a piece of mattress from the cell, hooked it on a piece of wire, lit it with a cigarette lighter and pushed it through a ventilation hole in the cell at Brickdam.
After the buildings in the station compound caught fire, Greene and other prisoners were relocated to the Sparendaam Police Station on the East Coast of Demerara. While at Sparendaam, Greene was placed in a cell with two other prisoners, who told investigators that Greene first confessed to them that he was behind the huge fire which destroyed the century-old buildings.
The duo said Greene told them that he took a piece of sponge, wrapped it up on a piece of wire which he lit and pushed it through a ventilation hole in the cell over to a part that had some documents and it catch afire, the police reported.
While being questioned, Greene reportedly told investigators that one of the prisoners provided the piece of wire to help start the fire.
Persons have since questioned the police report, casting doubt on the cause of the fire. But the Guyana Police Force has maintained that Greene confessed to setting the fire in the manner stated.
The fire has severely affected the operations of the Brickdam Police Station. A number of services were moved to St Stanislaus College, but during a visit by President Irfaan Ali on Sunday morning, he tasked the Police Force to seek other temporary but permanent solutions; these include looking at the reconfiguration of containers to use as offices in the meantime.
The President was heavily critical of the fire service response and noted that it was disappointing to see the devastation caused when millions have been invested in the fire service.
Engineers have already begun look at designs to rebuild the station, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn revealed during a briefing on Saturday.