Probe launched into attempted arson at Gordon House Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A high-level police probe is under way into an arson attack at Gordon House, the home of Jamaica’s Parliament, located on Duke Street in downtown Kingston, on Saturday night.

There was no injury or significant damage as a result of a fire at the premises, which reportedly dissipated on its own.

Reports are that about 10:28 pm, two police officers were on duty at the location when they smelled what appeared to be a noxious substance, and a check of the premises was carried out.

Further reports are that after checks of the building were completed, a minor burn was observed to the front door.

A plastic bottle, which was also burnt, was also seen at that location.

A CCTV footage has gone viral showing what appeared to be a male pouring a substance on a section of the building. He then goes out of the view of the camera, and then re-emerged as he ran from the scene as fire emerges.

Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for information, skills and digital transformation, Senator Dr Dana Morris Dixon, told the media on Sunday morning that both House Speaker Juliet Holness and President of the Senate, Tom Tavares Finson, are to meet with the police in the coming days to craft measures aimed at boosting security at Gordon House.

“Luckily the door (at Gordon House) is fire resistant…, and there is not any major damage to Gordon House, thankfully,” said Morris Dixon in a discussion with reporters.

She said the police officers who were on duty at Gordon House saw what was happening on the security camera.

“But by the time they (the officers) got out, the suspect had ran off,” the minister stated.

In a statement on the developments on Sunday, the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) said it is deeply concerned by the incident.

“This incident represents an attack on a symbol of the country’s legislature and law making, necessitating immediate attention from the law enforcement authorities,” the PNP stated.

The party said it is calling for a “swift” and “comprehensive” investigation to ascertain the identity and motive behind the act.

“It is imperative that the authorities take all necessary measures to ensure the security of our parliamentary institution and bring those responsible to justice,” said the PNP.

Continuing, it urged the authorities to safeguard the investigation, as surveillance video of the incident is already in circulation by the media.

“We encourage anyone with information about the incident to contact the relevant authorities and help reinforce the message that our institutions are inviolable,” the Opposition said.

In a separate statement, the police said the attack on Gordon House represents a significant and concerning event and it is committed to thoroughly investigating the incident to identify and apprehend the perpetrator.

The statement said a senior detective from the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) is leading the ongoing investigation.

It also said Police Commissioner, Dr Kevin Blake, has since ordered a review and assessment of the security arrangements of a number of scheduled premises.

“We urge anyone with information related to this incident to come forward and assist the police in ensuring the safety and security of our national institutions. Persons may call Police Emergency at 119, Crime Stop at 311, the NIB Tip Line at 811, or the nearest police station,” the release concluded.