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Jun 24, 2020

Where Was the Police in Gales Point Arson?

The situation was fraught with danger for Pastor Welch’s family. The police station, which is not far away from the pastor’s house, was locked up and it took hours for the police to arrive to process the scene.  Fortunately, the quick thinking of the pastor saved the day. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The fire in Gales Point Manatee erupted sometime around four-thirty this morning when the church van was set on fire. But there was no prompt response from the National Fire Service or the police. Even as the men, who occupied the house at the time, formed a bucket brigade to extinguish the blaze, they had to abandon that idea when they realised that butane tanks were inside the burning van.


Kenneth Welch, Pastor, Galilee Gospel Church, Gales Point Manatee

“I got out the bed, knock on the door for the young men who reside in the house along with myself and we got out and tried to throw a few buckets of water on the van, but we realized that it was already too engulfed in flames so we had to draw back. And then one of the young men alerted me that because we went to Dangriga in the van on Monday and we had supplies in the van, we had two butane tanks that we did not remove as yet. And when we reminded me of that, I told him then we need to push back further just in case those explode so that nobody would get hurt. So we just had to step back and watch the van engulfed in flames.”


A team of police officers, including Scenes of Crime personnel, arrived after ten o’clock today to process the scene. Photos were taken and a glove retrieved near the property, believed to have been used by the culprit, was secured.


Kenneth Welch

Kenneth Welch

“Fire department is all the way in Dangriga. I have no direct contact for the fire department. There is supposed to be a police man stationed in the village, but obviously he is not there. So there is no response from there. I called a superintendent that I know personally and he relayed the information to the commander in Dangriga, but so far no one has showed up as yet.”


Now the police station is just a short distance away from where the fire occurred, but the station was locked up and none of the two officers assigned to the village were present. Chairman, Jason Altschaft says that the absence of law enforcement is concerning for the village.


Jason Altschaft

Jason Altschaft, Chairman, Gales Point Manatee Village

“We’ve gone through several phases and the police presence is pretty much absent because generally there is nothing going on here. It’s got a reputation, but generally there is nothing going on here. There is one police man, if there was something going on, he can’t really do anything. So right now we are supposed to have two police officers. They have motorcycles so I don’t know what to say, they are not here. Very rare there are actually police presence here even with two of them supposed to be here. So I don’t know what to say about that but we are going to have to change something.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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