Rohee refuses to confirm or deny fire at Forensic Laboratory

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By Jomo Paul

General Secretary of the PPP, Clement Rohee. [iNews' Photo]
General Secretary of the PPP, Clement Rohee. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee on Monday morning refused to confirm or deny reports of a fire at Guyana’s Forensic Laboratory in Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.

Reports of the fire surfaced on the social media by prominent politician, Nigel Hughes, who opined that some sort of cover-up was afoot.

Rohee, when questioned by the incident on Monday morning, did not directly answer about the fire but said that it was surprising that Hughes had such profound knowledge of the incident.

“The Permanent Secretary informed me that Nigel Hughes broke a story about a fire at the Forensic Laboratory…incidentally the report gave a lot of details about the fuse blown, where the fuse was, points blown, where the point was… I found it strange that Mr Nigel Hughes would have all that kind of technical information,” said Rohee.

He also pointed out that the Home Affairs Ministry is in the process of preparing a press statement to address the concerns.

When asked directly whether there was a fire at the Laboratory Rohee did not respond.lab-1WEB-300x143

In a Facebook Post, Hughes noted that the fire started on March 17 at an electrical outlet in the office of the Head of the Technical department and was so intense that it blew out the glass wall which separated the room from the rest of the floor.

According to Hughes, the fire also destroyed the electrical outlets on the rest of the floor.

“The fire started in the socket and spread from the socket to a chair which was next to the socket,” Hughes stated in his post. According to him, government was advised prior to the fire that the electrical installation and air circulation in the building was faulty and poor.

“The overseas consultants have repeatedly advised the Government that the air flow quality is unacceptable as it circulates and recirculates toxic air in the building.

“The government to date has failed to effect any changes to the air flow operations. Staff members have been falling ill since they were allowed into the facility in July 2014,” the Attorney said.

He revealed that the construction of the laboratory is poor with loose tiles scattered throughout the building and staff members who have been relocated to another facility at Ogle “have been forbidden to speak with the press and as a consequence the matter has escaped media attention.”