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Authorities Await ATF RIMS Reports On Nevis Treasury Fire by Merv-Ann Thompson

Authorities are anticipating the reports of RIMS and the ATF to know definitively what started the fire that destroyed the Nevis Treasury in January. The early morning fire of January 17 gutted the Nevis Island Administration Treasury Department and damaged connecting offices of the VAT and Inland Revenue. The government requested assistance from investigators with the Regional Investigative Management Services (RIMS) which operates through CARICOM’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS). The NIA’s first preference in investigating the fire though, was the US’ Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Both the regional and international agencies sent teams to Nevis recently to carry out investigations. While the different agencies were being sought, Premier Hon. Vance Amory expressed his agitation at the “negligence”of the federal government with respect to the passage of time, as the scene may have been compromised. “The lapse in time, six weeks, may have impaired fighters from determining the cause. It’s a challenge, and in a way, we’re unhappy about the lag in response because the request was made the morning of [the fire],”he told The Observer. Neither the NIA nor police will make any statements on the fire’s cause until these reports have been received. “Two weeks ago, three representatives of the ATF visited Nevis and did a preliminary assessment of the fire… and will send us a full report,”Premier Amory, told the Observer. Commissioner of Police, CG Walwyn told this media house, “RIMS came to the federation and investigated the fire. We are awaiting the official report so we can make a statement.”A full investigation has not commenced to determine the cost of the damages, however Premier Amory expects it to be substantial. “It would cost the government somewhere in the region of USD 70, 000,”he stated. The blaze not only destroyed the physical infrastructure of the downtown building, it also destroyed financial documents and other important records and equipment. Displaced employees of the three government agencies were moved to the Post Office and conference room above the Financial Services. The offices of the Treasury, Inland Revenue and VAT that deal directly with the public have since been relocated to the Solomon Arcade on Main Street, Charlestown and the others are operating from the Horsfords Complex in Stoney Grove.

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