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Bomb scare at Ministry of Agriculture

Bomb scare  at Ministry of Agriculture

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Production was cut short by at least two hours at the Ministry of Agriculture Tuesday morning, when the emergency and evacuation plan was set into full motion after a bomb threat was made.{{more}}

About 10 a.m, a telephone call was received by the Ministry of Agriculture from someone who said that there was a bomb in the building.

When SEARCHLIGHT arrived on the scene at 10:15 a.m., workers were seen evacuating the building. Among them was Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, who confirmed that the evacuation procedure was because of a reported “bomb scare”.

“It was reported to me that a call came in to the Ministry about 10 a.m. and someone would have identified themselves by the name ‘Mohammed’ and that at 11:30 everybody should evacuate the building, because a bomb is going to go off at 11:30.

“The Permanent Secretary then called the Commissioner of Police, who would have put the requisite things in place to have the building searched,” the Minister stated.

Members of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Fire Department Kingstown unit, along with Special Services Unit (SSU) officers were also observed on the scene, guiding workers to safety before proceeding to investigate.

At 10:30 a.m., once the building was entirely evacuated, Inspector Timothy Hazelwood of the Special Services Unit proceeded to conduct a search of the building with a specially trained German Shepherd sniffer dog.

While a few individuals positioned themselves far away from the scene, others stood close by, observing the situation.

“This whole thing is a prank and just wasting people time. The amount of things I could have done,” one worker said, when asked his opinion of the situation.

At 11:00 a.m., half an hour before the stated detonation time, Inspector Hazelwood and the sniffer dog exited the building. Hazelwood reported that the dog did not detect any form of danger, relating to a bomb. He, however, informed that the search with the dog may not be 100 per cent correct” and advised that persons remain outside until advised to do otherwise.

About 11:45 a.m., the green light was given and workers were allowed to file back into the building and resume their duties.

Members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), who were also on hand, revealed that attempts will be made to trace the telephone call, as part of their investigations.

Meanwhile, Caesar commended the security forces for their speedy response in dealing with the matter, which he described as “a malicious act” which interrupted the day’s proceedings at the Ministry.

“We had to cancel three very important meetings because of this matter,” he said.

He, however, disclosed that he had observed some individuals acting “carelessly” about the matter and encouraged them to be more cautious whenever situations like these occur.

“Some persons are guided by careless behaviour and I want for us not to take these matters slightly,” Caesar stated.

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT after the two hour ordeal, Inspector Hazelwood advised that persons who may find themselves in such situations should always follow the protocol of the emergency and evacuation plan and to “take the matter seriously” until informed otherwise.

“When you get bomb threats you have handle them as a Code Red. There is no bomb threat that you handle slightly,” the Inspector said.(AA)

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