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Businessman Rawle Francis stand outside his burnt-out shop in Pierre Hughes, Barrouallie, on June 26, 2018, three days after it was burglarised then set on fire. (iWN photo)
Businessman Rawle Francis stand outside his burnt-out shop in Pierre Hughes, Barrouallie, on June 26, 2018, three days after it was burglarised then set on fire. (iWN photo)
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Police in Barrouallie have arrested two females and five males in connection with the burglary and burning of a shop in the Central Leeward town sometime Saturday night.

The shop was owned by businessman Rawle Francis, 63, of Barrouallie, who began operating it about five years ago.

Francis opened the business after returning from the United States, where he worked as a salesman and mechanic.

The Glebe Hill, Barrouallie, resident told iWitness News he was at home when he received a call about 5 a.m. Sunday saying that the shop, located in Pierre Hughes, another area of Barrouallie, was on fire.

When he arrived, the “back door was busted down; burglar bars, everything was busted down… I saw some tools that they used to break the door and the burglar bar down.

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“The whole place was on fire blazing,” Francis told iWitness News outside of the burnt-out shell of his business place on Monday evening. As they awaited the arrival of the fire truck from Kingstown, villagers made a futile attempt to contain the fire using water from a garden hose.

However, by the time the fire truck arrived from Kingstown, they were too late to save the contents of the building: a three-room single-story concrete structure.

Francis estimates at EC$20,000 the value of the stock that he lost in the blaze.

Rawle Francis
Residents of the community look on at the damage done to the business Monday evening. (iWN photo)

This is not to count the cost of the equipment and appliances, including a freezer that he bought for EC$3,000 three weeks before the blaze.

The fire also destroyed the roof of the building.

“I had just finished shopping. The truck came and I shopped for the groceries,” said the businessman who usually buys his goods from merchants in Kingstown, which then deliver them to the shop.

“Friday I just got a lot of stuff from Coreas and other trucks,” said Francis, who coughed intermittently during the interview in an apparent attempt to prevent himself from crying as his voice began to break with emotion.

“That’s my livelihood. The people in the neighbourhood love my shop because I am a person who loves kids.  Birthday time, I give the kids them bags of stuff for their birthday,” said Francis, whose children, all adults, live in the United States.

Among the items destroyed by the fire was a cooler that the businessman used to store eggs, a freezer for drinks, a television, and a stereo set.

His brother had recently sent him a karaoke machine and that is unaccounted for, having either been stolen or destroyed in the blaze, Francis told iWitness News.

Francis theorised that after raiding the shop, the burglars set it ablaze to hide their crimes because he has a surveillance system installed.

The property included a room with a bed where Francis would rest during the day when his wife came on shift.

He, however, did not spend the night there.

Rawle Francis shop
The burnt-out shop in Pierre Hughes, Barrouallie. (iWN photo)

Police have recovered about six bags of items believed to have been stolen from the shop and are expected to lay charges soon.

Members of the public are sad about the burglary and destruction of the business, which is among the village shops that still offer items on credit.

“They usually pay, so I offer them credit,” Francis said.

One woman who was looking on at the damage told iWitness News how she felt.

“I feel real bad ‘bout it because here is a place I [am] accustomed hanging out and I know Rawle for a long time, so I really feel bad about it,” she said.

It is not the first time that the shop was burglarised.

On the previous occasion, one of Francis’ cousins, a police officer who lives nearby, nabbed the perpetrator. The stolen items were recovered and the burglar spent six months in jail.

And, on one occasion, two masked men robbed Francis while he was on his way home and relieved him of EC$1,500 in cash.

On another occasion, an unknown person snatched his bag off his shoulder and ran.

16 replies on “Shop burglarised, burnt in Bagga”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    If SVG was truly a civilized country, we would burn the seven of them, if found guilty, at the stake the way our more enlightened ancestors used to treat such matters.

  2. Mr Rawle, I suggest you apply for a firearm to protect your family and business. These hardback individuals would rather steal to get by. I have no sympathy for criminals, the need to be locked a way.

  3. So tell me what is the government doin for the people of svg,why should a shop be on fire all the way in barrouallie and has to await for a fire truck to come out of Kingstown to take care of the fire .why cnt every district as a matter of fact barrouallie is one of the socalled towns of svg,bit yet yall Vincent Iams gonna make these people continue to fool us I’m sick and tired of that. BS.

    1. Patriotic but upset says:

      Bro isn’t that a joke? its a running joke in Mespo area. we all laugh at how absurd it is to have a fire truck coming all the way out to the rural towns and villages. smdh!!! i hope they help to wash away the ashes. Otherwise they are absolutely useless! Its a total shame and a disgrace!! we are all tired. They are all full of hot air. Wish i could say a few french words but i won’t. All of the politicians are a bunch of good-for-nuttin- neros! Get me?

  4. This is such an unfortunate story which illustrates the increasing wickedness in this society. I hope Mr. Francis is fully compensated for his loss and is able to get back on his feet and restart his business. The culprits must be made to pay for the damage done and not just in terms of lengthy jail time but have to be made to compensate him financially. Congrats to the police for their quick action. On the other hand I can’t believe that in this day and age a town of the population and size of Barrouallie no longer has it’s own fire engine. Layou doesn’t either. Such a shame.

  5. May God’s Kingdom come and get rid of the wicked ones who are unwilling to change. May God’s Will be done on Earth, bringing peaceful conditions as God had originally meant it to be – Paradise. Matthew 6:9, 10; Psalm 37: 9 to 11, 29; Luke 23:43.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      God isn’t listening.

      God partly abandoned us after Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden given to her by Satan in the guise of a snake, a metaphor many people interpret as a phallic symbol — a “tone” in our dialect — which represents Eve’s adultery (butting Adam).

      God continued his abandonment when he rescued Noah, his family, and all the plants and animals He had created, leaving the rest of us to drown in The Flood.

      God next adandoned many of us for Crucifying His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

      Once more, God abandoned humanity, in general, and the millions of Back Africans, in particular, who were either forced into slavery or died in resisting capture or during the heinous Middle Passage from the West Coast of Africa to the New World beginning over 500 hundred years ago.

      Finally, God abandoned us in full by allowing the Holocaust — permitting the deliberate slaughter of nine million Jews and millions of other “undesireables” — between the mid-1930 and 1945.

      Three strike against God and you are damned for eternity!

      Four strikes, you are already dead and living in state of altered consciousnes, otherwise known as hell-fire and brimstone.

      That is where we now are, whether we realize it or not.

      1. Annis Oatelia Creese says:

        C ben David, as soon as I started to read I was shaking with laughter, so thanks for that.

      2. C. ben-David says:

        Forgot to mention Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 19 which were destroyed by the Almighty for various transgressions, including the worst sin of all “bulling” — a concept called divine retribution) which occured before the Flood.

        We are either living in a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah in SVG — where hell fire and brimstone destroyed the cities, a premonition for the next eruption of the Soufriere when the Lord told us with his Mighty fury in 1902 to clean up our act, a message we chose not to hear — or as I said above in the deepest part of Hell dreaming otherwise, as in the Matrix trilogy, as our life blood is sucked out of us drop by drop and day by day.

        Amen, and pass the tequila.

  6. Foster Forde says:

    C.Ben David you would wish a penalty of death for stealing? Not just any death but death by fire? What would cause people to burglarize a store and then set it on fire? Can we come up with solutions to the underlying problems facing Vincentians? High youth unemployment, low wages, lack of opportunity to reach the middle class. Burning people to death does not solve the problem.

  7. It’s very true that SVG is very much behind time when it comes to basic emergency public services mainly in police, hospital and fire departments. It need a much overdue overhauling of these establishments.
    Given the hostile climate towards raising or paying taxes, how do citizens expect these changes and improvements in these essential life saving services be accomplished.

  8. C. ben-David says:

    Too bad that you couldn’t comprehend that I was deliberately using hyperbole to point out that our criminal justice system is too lenient with offenders like this. Crime can not be deterred with a small fine on a first offence for break-and-enter, especially if you are a female with children to support.

    As for unemployment, low wages, and low mobility, these occur around the world in places poorer than we are but with far less crime like this.

    In SVG, criminality is a sub-set of dishonesty, a trait deeply entrenched among all classes, ethnic groups, and racial categories.

  9. Professor King says:

    Forget, a lot of young people do not like to work. Yes, there is unemployment, but I have experience the situation repeatedly where youths are refusing to work, even when work is offered to them. Generally they are lazy and prefer a quick fix by stealing, doing drugs or selling their bodies rather than work hard for an honest living. I understand that we must look for the underlying causes of social disturbance. Yet, we must look harder still, because there are many factors behind the unemployment and lack of opportunities, as you identified. We should start looking at the family socialization and other influences rather than fix a steady gaze on government.

  10. Foster Forde says:

    So C. ben-David, criminality is an inherited trait? Or is that another example of your hyperbole? Other countries have poverty and unemployment as well so we should just accept it? I hope the opinions on this page are not reflective of the majority of Vincentians,

Comments closed.