KINGSTON, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Arson attacks on the Venezuelan embassy and Organization of American States (OAS) office in St. Kitts and Nevis sparked bitter political exchanges Monday.
The separate attacks, which occurred early Sunday in Basseterre, on the island of St. Kitts, resulted in the destruction of the embassy, while the building housing the OAS office escaped major damage.
It has been determined an arsonist set the fire at the OAS office and the same cause is suspected at the Venezuelan embassy.
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas Monday condemned the fires and linked them to recent opposition protest actions, while Mark Brantley, leader of the opposition, rejected the charges and labeled the prime minister's comments "unfortunate".
Addressing the nation, Douglas linked the fires to incidents the same day involving his political opponents, and accused them of "extreme political tactics" aimed at destabilizing the government.
"For months, ...persons wishing to replace my government have asserted that we, in St. Kitts and Nevis, are gripped by a crisis," he said. "It is clear that some have decided that, if there is no crisis, they will have to manufacture one."
In a statement issued in response, Brantley, who had earlier expressed his "sorrow and revulsion" over the attacks, accused the prime minister of "trying through innuendo to inflame the unfortunate situation and blame the opposition."
"To connect a peaceful opposition protest at the Marriott with these fires several hours later and several miles away can make sense only to the most cunning and calculating mind," Brantley said.
He claimed that, if anyone benefited politically from the fires, it was the prime minister, who got an opportunity to hurl accusations and innuendo against the opposition without evidence, and a much-needed distraction from the growing discontent with his government.
The political situation in the twin-island Caribbean nation has been increasingly tense since December, when Brantley filed a no-confidence motion aimed at forcing elections. The motion was rejected by the parliamentary majority, resulting in hundreds taking to the street in Basseterre.