KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, Jun 4, CMC – Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace Monday expressed concern at the continued silence of the St Vincent and the Grenadines police amidst reports that three foreigners and a local Customs official had been killed during a shootout involving police on Union Island Sunday.
The state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), citing unidentified sources, identified the dead Customs official as Othniel White and the foreigners as Venezuelan, but gave no further details beyond saying police investigations were continuing.
“I want to recognise that something very bad took place in Union Island. I have got so many different conflicting reports over the course of the night last night that I was never sure exactly which one was the correct one,” Eustace said during his weekly radio programme on Monday.
“I understand that a Customs guard died. I understand he was not shot and I understand that either two or three Venezuelans was killed in this situation and I am still waiting for confirmation in the exact details of the situation but we have enough in this country without having to go through this kind of event,” he said.
There have been conflicting reports as to how White died, with some reports indicating that he drowned as he sought to flee the gun battle with the occupants of the foreign vessel on the Southern Grenadine island.
“I believe in a day or two everything will become clear as to what transpired. But it doesn’t do much for our reputation and I want to ensure that when these things are in fact reported that we really have a very clear picture,” Eustace said.
“I have not heard of any statement from the police. I would like to have a statement which is definitive so that we can know clearly and exactly what transpired. Because, obviously, people have been killed, others have been wounded and this is indeed a very serious development,” the Opposition Leader added.
Unconfirmed reports said that the foreign vessel, which was accustomed to bringing fuel from Venezuela, had been reluctant to enter the harbour even after being cleared by the Customs to do so.
The reports said that there were at least eight foreigners onboard the un-named vessel and that one of them had fired upon the police, resulting in the gun battle.