KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace on Monday morning expressed concern about the silence of the police amidst report that three foreigners and a local Customs guard died during a shootout involving police in Union Island Sunday.
“… I believe in a day or two everything will become clear as to what transpired. But it doesn’t do much for our reputation and I want to ensure that when these things are in fact reported that we really have a very clear picture. I have not heard of any statement from the police. I would like to have a statement, which is definitive so that we can know clearly and exactly what transpired. Because, obviously, people have been killed, others have been wounded and this is indeed a very serious development,” Eustace said.
An officer at the Police Public Relations Dept. who identified herself as Corporal Smith, told I-Witness News just before 3 p.m. Monday, that “the information is ready but it has to be perused by the officer.
“He hasn’t perused it as yet,” she said.
The state-owned National Broadcasting Corp., citing unidentified sources, named the dead Customs official as Othniel White and the foreigners as Venezuelans, but gave no further details beyond saying police investigations are continuing.
“I want to recognise that something very bad took place in Union Island. I have got so many different conflicting reports over the course of the night last night that I was never sure exactly which one was the correct one,” Eustace said during his weekly radio appearance.
He said that he failed in his attempts to reach Southern Grenadines representative, opposition legislator Terrance Ollivierre, whose telephone line was continually engaged after the development.
“I understand that a customs guard died. I understand he was not shot and I understand that either two or three Venezuelans was killed in this situation and I am still waiting for confirmation in the exact details of the situation but we have enough in this country without having to go through this kind of event,” Eustace said.
Unconfirmed reports say that the Customs official drowned during the gun battle between police and the foreign occupants of a suspected drug vessel.
Well-placed sources told I-Witness News Sunday night that occupants of the foreign vessel opened fire on police and Customs officials in the Southern Grenadine island.
Police returned fire killing three of the foreigners and wounding another, sources said.