The fire that destroyed the wooden section of the Unity Labour Party’s campaign office in Chauncey on Oct. 16 was not caused by an electrical fault, party general secretary, Sen. Julian Francis has said.
Francis made the disclosure on Friday at the re-opening of the repaired building, but, amidst a police investigation, said he will leave persons to come to their own conclusion about how the blaze might have started.
He said he received a call around 12:40 a.m. on Oct. 16 saying that the office of the party’s South Leeward candidate, Sen. Jomo Thomas was on fire.
“Ah go on Facebook and somebody did dun capture a picture. And I wept, because I know what Jomo Thomas put into this building here,” Francis said.
“Because of its strategic location, there are many who would wish to see it disappear,” he said of the office.
The office is located in a building owned by the late Robert Cottle. The office, proper, is located on the ground floor of the building, and the upper, wooden section, was used as a storage area, I-Witness News understands.
Francis said that the Monday after the fire, the ULP had a strategy meeting, at which he promised Thomas that the office would be rebuilt in five days.
“And I said to Jomo. Jomo, don’t worry. Give me five days and I will have your office back up and running. So said, so done…” Francis told the gathering who came to witness the re-opening.
“But yo’ know me. I don’t like to go on hearsay. I hear all kind of people say all kind of thing about the fire.
“I called the police. I said when are you going to deliver the building back to us. In fact, work start back here Tuesday morning. They say when they finish their investigation. By Tuesday afternoon, Jomo, they had finished?”
Francis said he called the Electrical Inspector, who works in his Ministry.
“I am the Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works. The electrical inspector is under my watch. The Electrical Inspector, Mr. Jack, was called in by the police to do an investigation into the fire. I said, ‘Sir, have you found the cause of the fire?’ He said to me, ‘Sir, I can tell you that that fire was not an electrical fault.”
Francis told the gathering that the fire in the Finance Complex in Kingstown a few years ago started with a fan and that was confirmed.
“They say all kinds of things about how this one here cause. I [am] eliminating one. It was not caused by an electrical problem. So all the others that you have heard as to what burn down the building, you all sort them out in your minds as to what burn down the building. Why and what caused the fire in Jomo office,” Francis said.