West Berbice farmer’s house goes up in flames

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– arson suspected

BY ANDREW CARMICHAEL

A West Coast Berbice farmer is counting his losses after the house he and his daughter occupied went up in flames. The farmer is of the belief that it was an act of arson.
It was just after midnight on Wednesday when Tara Singh and his daughter left

The house destroyed by fire

their Naarstigheid, West Coast Berbice home for Parika, East Bank Essequibo to sell. However, moments later, he received a telephone call stating that his house was on fire. The 52-year-old farmer found this strange since he did not light the stove the previous evening and there is no electricity line running to the house.
There is no need to light a lamp or candle since the building uses solar power. Singh says the news of the fire was shocking. However, he turned around and head back home where he found the entire two-bedroom structure flattened by the

West Berbice farmer Tara Singh is pleading for any assistance as fire destroyed the house he lived in with his daughter

fire.
Singh said the building had a step between the two bedrooms and it seems as if the fire was started there. “I suspect it to be arson because my house don’t have no lamp; we use solar batteries to power the house and it is me and my daughter alone and I would be finishing cooking by one o’clock the latest in the day so we had no fire lighted in the night. Normally we don’t drink tea before we leave, so that is why I suspect it to be arson,” Singh explained.
Currently, Singh and his daughter are living with an elderly man. He says the fire has taken a heavy toll on his daughter who is a Fourth Form student attending the Number 11 Secondary. “She buy a lot of text books for the opening of school… is everything burnt.”
The farmer said he cannot recall having bad blood with anyone. In fact, he is one of the leaders of the farmers’ association and receives good support from the other farmers who occupy land leased to them by the Government at Naarstigheid and the neighbouring village of Fort Wellington.
Singh is one of several farmers who Regional Executive Officer (REO) Ovid Morrison had reportedly ordered off the land and erected notices stating that it was illegal for them to go onto the farms.
The REO had projected to construct a multipurpose agriculture project on the close to 100 acre plot of land. While the project has not received the approval of the RDC, Singh is said to be one of the farmers who is leading the fight against the REO.
Meanwhile, persons interested in offering any assistance can contact Singh on telephone number 671-7167. “I went back to the fire station for a report and they promise to give me it next week Wednesday. Right now me and my daughter, we lost everything. I am appealing to the public for whatever contribution they can make; I will be grateful,” he pleaded.