Health Minister John Rahael at the scene of yesterdays
explosion on Independence Square, as it was being secured
by the police and soldiers.
What looked like the scene of another bombing in downtown
Port-of-Spain yesterday was, in fact, the accidental explosion
of a nuts vendors stove, says acting Police Commissioner
Nonetheless, what Roach defined as an incident
left the nuts vendor and two passers-by injured.
The explosion occurred just as hundreds of commuters were
passing through the nations capital on their way home
from work. Many scampered for safety in panic, fearing a repeat
of the four bombings that occurred in the city last year.
reports are that at around 5.20 pm, a gas tank, sorry, a stove
exploded as a result of leaking gas. That happened to a vendor
who actually sells nuts at the corner of Independence Square
South and Charlotte Street, Roach said.
cart exploded and, as a result, the vendor was injured and
two other passers-by.
Roach did not identify the injured, who were all women, saying
he wanted to verify the names he had received.
information is that the vendor is a bit seriously injured
but the other two persons are slightly injured, he said.
Roach said there was no reason for any additional security
in the downtown area. He noted an intensive police search,
which included the use of sniffer dogs, found no explosive
When the Guardian arrived on the scene at around 5.30 pm,
a woman was lying on the street near the cart in apparent
There were two ambulances on the scene as police officers
were converging on the area when Health Minister John Rahael
arrived and began to supervise the medical treatment of those
The injured woman was soon taken away in one of the ambulances
as more police and soldiers arrived on the scene.
Just a few minutes later, a National Security helicopter flew
overheard and would remain hovering over the scene well after
It was at around 6.15 pm that Roach briefed reporters on the
incident near to the site of the explosion, which, along with
a large portion of Independence Square, was cordoned off by
By that time, police had blocked off pedestrian access from
Independence Square North and Southfrom the Roman Catholic
Cathedral to Henry Streetas scores of onlookers gathered.
Vehicular access along Independence Square North was blocked
from the Cathedral to St Vincent Street.
Police also prevented vehicles from accessing Independence
Square South from the Cathedral to Frederick Street.
Roach was asked how long the area would remain cordoned off.
as long as we are able to process the crime scene
soon as we are finished we are going to release the scene
and things are going to go on as usual, he said.
He was then asked if he was referring to the explosion site
a crime scene or an accident scene.
let us say an incident scene until we can prove otherwise,
are 95 per cent sure that it is an accident.
The Guardian pointed out that there was still a five per cent
chance that the explosion was not accidental.
there is always that possibility, so we are not ruling it
out until we are sure, he said.
Andrew Jack, who was sitting directly behind the vendor when
the explosion occurred, said he was flung to the ground by
the force of the explosion. He was also splashed with hot
water, he claimed, but did not suffer any injury.
reporting by Kayode James