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Police accused of slothful response to Port Kaituma arson threat

Residents of Port Kaituma are angry about the police’s apparent slow response to a report by a teenage girl that her parents had been quarrelling and her father had threatened burn down the house.

Businessman, Lenus La Cruz in the end carried through with his threat, dousing the house with gasoline and setting it alight with his wife and four children inside. They perished while he escaped but not before being burnt about his body.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the woman told DemWaves that she had just exited church and was surprised to see a huge fire. The woman recalled the 12 year old girl complaining to her that the police did nothing when she reported the threat. “The girl said her father wanted to burn down the place and she said she went to the police and they didn’t do anything,” she said.

The woman could not say how long the girl was at the station but she remembered distinctly the girl blaming the police for what had happened.

According to the woman, she and the girl saw only one policeman responding to the report while the house was well alight and thick smoke was billowing.

In a statement, the Guyana Police Force confirmed that on their way to the scene, they observed that the building was on fire and suspecting that persons were inside attempted to enter the building, but were prevented from doing so by a locked grill door.
 
The police ranks and nearby residents formed a bucket brigade but were unable to extinguish the blaze. Residents said that it was not until about 3 AM that they were able to remove the burnt bodies. They said the way the bodies were found showed that the woman and her children were huddled together.
 
Dead are housewife Lurlene La Cruz, 39 years; her daughters Lea La Cruz, 14 years, and Lavette La Cruz, 3 years; and sons Labron La Cruz, 8 years, and Levon La Cruz, 1 year.
 
Former A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) parliamentarian , Richard Allen expressed grave concern about the police response to the report by the child.

He also complained that the sub-region does not have social workers to address reports of domestic violence and provide counselling in situations like this.

Meanwhile, the injured businessman was Monday expected to be flown to the city for additional treatment before he is charged with the offence of murder.