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Griffith: Beetham fires not arson
National Security Minister Gary Griffith says the fires in the Beetham landfill which caused much of Port-of-Spain to be blanketed in dense smoke for most of yesterday was not caused by residents protesting a police shooting of one of their neighbours. “My information is that it is not in anyway related to an act of arson,” Griffith said in a brief telephone interview yesterday. His statement on the issue mirrored that of residents, who adamantly denied any involvement in the incident. “Police just looking for an excuse and for somebody to blame,” one male resident, who wished to remain unnamed, said yesterday.
Who responded to the scene and remained in the area until late Sunday to ensure protests did not affect other citizens as they had in the past. With some protesters threatening to continue protests yesterday, the officers returned to the area before rush-hour traffic began yesterday morning and evening. They were seen patrolling and were parked at strategic locations along the highway to allow for speedy responses in the event of any reports of illegal activity, though by the end of the day there were none reported.
“It was professionally handled,” Griffith said yesterday in describing the police’s response. He also praised Beetham residents fort acting in a professional manner by refraining from disrupting commuters through blocking the highway, despite their concern over the manner in which the police handled the incident on Sunday. Besson Street police are continuing investigations into Williams’ shooting.