The government will demolish the buildings gutted by fire, including this brick building, left, from the nation’s colonial past. (IWN photo)

Vagrants were living in the buildings in Kingstown that were gutted by fire on Sunday, Minister of State in the Ministry of Works, Sen. Julian Francis has confirmed.

The fire, the second in the city in a week, gutted three otherwise unoccupied government buildings, including one that dates back to the nation’s colonial past.

Francis told SVGTV News on Monday that the fire spread from the old administrative building behind the building that formerly housed the Treasury and spread across the overpass then gutted the old Treasury Building.

The building that formerly housed the electoral office was also destroyed.

Francis, however, said none of the buildings housed government offices at the time of the fire.

“There may have been some files in there — old files and paper that had not yet been taken out,” he told SVGTV.

Vagrants had moved into the building after the government officers were relocated. (IWN photo)
Vagrants had moved into the building after the government officers were relocated. (IWN photo)

“But we know for a fact that vagrants had invaded the buildings and the police were working on that, trying and get them out. We have no idea as yet as to what caused the fire. I believe must be a mishap by a vagrant. You know what their activities are like.”

One person who frequently uses the access road behind the Central Post Office in Kingstown told I-Witness News that vagrants were also living inside the old Treasury Building.

The persons said that the vagrants seemed to have gained access through a window, then opened a door at the back of the building.

Francis said there were old files and paper that had not yet been removed from the buildings. (IWN photo)
Francis said there were old files and paper that had not yet been removed from the buildings. (IWN photo)

Francis said that the government has decided to demolish the structures and barricade the area to make it look “presentable”.

“Particularly the old brick building. That heat that was in that, you never know what can happen. There could be collapse later on because that is an ancient design,” he said.

Francis said that plan were afoot before the fire to fix the entire area.

Francis said there were old files and paper that had not yet been removed from the buildings. (IWN photo)
Francis said there were old files and paper that had not yet been removed from the buildings. (IWN photo)

“And this will just speed it up. So we are moving very soon to take the buildings down and get the buildings barricade,” he said, adding that the plan includes the incomplete building acquired by the government after the collapse of insurance company BAICO some years ago.

“And the plan will be the entire block. That is, the old Treasury building from the Post Office down to NCB, including British American property and the old Government Printery,” Francis said.

Meanwhile, workers at the Income Tax and Registry Department, located in two separate buildings nearby, were sent home on Monday while their officers were cleaned of smoke.

Francis praised the response of the fire fighters, saying, “The Fire Department did well to keep it just to those three buildings.”

Related:

The blaze occured one week after Coreas Mini Mart on Lower Bay Street, Kingstown, was gutted by fire. (IWN photo)
The blaze occured one week after Coreas Mini Mart on Lower Bay Street, Kingstown, was gutted by fire. (IWN photo)

8 replies on “Vagrants lived in buildings destroyed by fire in Kingstown”

  1. Why do we tolerate vagrancy in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? We have allowed these problems to manifest themselves out of control. Let these people go to their families or hold their families accountable. The same can be said about the untidiness in Kingstown. Our leaders have to “man up” and take proper control of SVG”. Clean up Kingstown, put a proper structure in place to manage the street vendors, police the vendors and more importantly set proper standard by which all vendors and businesses must abide by in Kingstown. Our politicians have to demonstrate a higher standard on leadership on these issues.

    1. Neither party will do this because the vendors and their families are voters.

      As for the homeless, most are mentally ill or drug addicted persons abandoned by their families or who don’t want to live with their families. The poor home and mental asylum can’t house them. Many would run away if confined.

  2. Augustus the increase in vagrants is a failure of government to provide proper facilities for homeless people. You will find that everyone of them is mentally ill to one degree or another.

    It’s not their fault they cannot help themselves, and you cannot blame their families, it’s certainly not their faults.

    As for street vendors it’s a vote loser for whatever party takes that on. Gonsalves knows that and is staying well away from it.

  3. It’s a little disquieting to see papers relating to passports burnt, when you consider all those passports burnt at Camden Park.

    Why is Francis the spokes person in this matter?

  4. Watching Hard says:

    Sad that a building with some architectural significance got destroyed. Frankly though it may not have been such a bad thing if a couple more structures were incinerated. There are a number of ugly nasty structures in town that need to go. Kingstown is so nasty and we seem to be so comfortable with the nastiness. I’ve never been in a capital that stunk so much of urine. We have no pride at all in our capital. We seem to have no sense of perspective on what a national capital should look like. We seem not to understand that we are perfectly capable of doing better. As for the vagrants well I think it’s well established that we have no respect or empathy for the less fortunate. Heartbreaking.

  5. Just more evidence of gross incompentence and negligence in SVG. After more than 14 years in power, the Ralph Gonsalves government can’t even manage to put out a few small fires two blocks from the fire hall.

    No wonder SVG is referred to as the Third World’s Third World.

    No wonder this government can’t complete a small international airport 10 years after it was conceived.

  6. So it was a known fact that homeless people occupied the building, but nothing was done to remove them. Ok. No important govt. records were in the building and the fire will not interfere with the upcoming election. Now we can relax knowing that documents that may be needed to investigate the ULP, employees conduct and members of the ruling government were not destroyed. I don’t feel guilty, believing that the fire was started to destroy important government documents, because where there if smoke there is fire.

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