Dominica’s police chief has responded to concerns expressed by fire victim GON Emanuel about the “slow pace of police investigations” into the December 2010 fire that gutted his Goodwill residence and had his wife and himself taking prompt evasive action to save their lives.
Former magistrate Emanuel told Dominica News Online last week that he was very disappointed that the investigation had yielded very little to date, with no one arrested or charged for suspected arson.
However Police Commissioner Cyril Carrette has been telling DNO that the police “are doing all we possibly can with that investigation”.
In an interview on Wednesday, Carrette said: “We are investigating this matter, and there has been absolutely no interference by anybody in this matter”, in reference to suggestions that the matter was being influenced politically as has been alleged.
Describing lawyer Emanuel as a difficult person, the commissioner disclosed that the senior police official investigating the matter had to be changed after “Mr Emanuel complained about the person who was investigating”.
Commissioner Carrette said also that GON Emanuel had failed to cooperate fully with the police in the matter, refusing to be interviewed fully and also refusing to let his wife do the same.
“And if you do not cooperate with the police and you show resistance, then it will really impede the investigation. He has not cooperated fully with the investigation,” the police chief emphasized.
Emanuel had a different take on the situation when he spoke to DNO earlier.
“Nothing has been done … because from the top, nobody wants to proceed,” he alleged.
Emanuel says there is an individual of interest who is currently in jail who is alleged to have confessed to the crime, and another currently in the United States also said to have been involved.
Carrette says some of what’s been alleged in the so-called self confession “have not been proven to be correct”.
Emanuel isn’t buying the police case – he told DNO that instead of actively pursuing those leads, the police have been investigating him – the victim of the crime.
“They have been trying to find anything that they can find out against me,” he said, adding that the investigation at one stage zeroed in on him, the suggestion being that he tried to kill his wife in a bid to get a $10 million dollar insurance payday.
“They have got nothing on this one, on this insurance business, they came out blank,” Glen Emmanuel said.
However Commissioner Carrette has denied the insurance angle mentioned by the former magistrate.
“That is the first time I am hearing that, but all we are saying is if somebody is a victim of any crime that person is supposed to subject himself or herself to interview by the investigator. And anytime you fail to do that, we are going to have problems with the investigation,” Carrette said.
According to the Commissioner, GON Emanuel “wants to direct the police, he wants to be in control. But he must subject himself to interview by the investigator”.
Emanuel says the police should charge the self-confessed individual currently behind bars “with attempted murder and arson”.
He says another individual who was interviewed on radio by Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan, an individual alleged to have been involved, should also be brought back to Dominica from the United States “to face the investigation”.
The commissioner told DNO, however that the investigation remains wide open, with the police optimistic that they will be able to make inroads and eventually take the matter to court.