The grand fireworks display scheduled for tonight to usher in Guyana’s 50th Republic anniversary has been cancelled as four Guyana Defence Force (GDF) ranks remain critical following today’s explosion at the Coast Guard headquarter, Ruimveldt, Georgetown.
In a statement this evening, the GDF said that ranks of the 21 Artillery Company were making preparations for tonight’s celebrations when there was a spontaneous combustion at around 13:30h. This resulted in a number of pyrotechnic (fireworks) being destroyed and rendered un-usable. Hence, tonight’s firework display has been called off.
The four critical ranks have been identified as: Seon Rose, Issaiah Gordon, Terrence Neil and Andrew Garnett. Another four ranks are receiving treatment for minor burns, while other ranks who nearby the explosion and in the compound at the time are being treated for shock.
The injured ranks were visited by Commander of the Armed Force, President David Granger, this afternoon at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
The Head of State told reporters in an interview that the ranks involved are experts in firework displays and would have participated in Barbados’ 50th Independence Anniversary fireworks activities back in 2016.
“They were meant to perform tonight outside of Stabroek. The ammunition was being loaded on barges and something obviously went wrong and one bomb might have triggered a chain effect. It is not as though there might have been any carelessness,” the President explained.
He stated that “the best” is being done at the GPHC for the injured soldiers. The army’s Medical Officer, Major Nigel Langhorne, is also aiding in the treatment and care for the ranks.
Meanwhile, GDF head, Brigadier Patrick West, also explained that the rehearsals for tonigh’s fireworks display were conducted on Friday evening without any hiccups.
Nevertheless, Brigadier West has ordered a Board of Inquiry (BoI) into the incident.