Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 May 2023, 16:26 by Denis Chabrol
Guyana’s constitutional body, Rights of the Child Commission (RCC), on Wednesday indicated that it was on standby to participate in efforts to ensure that another fire similar to the one that burnt to death 19 children at the dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary School.
“As more information becomes available, we shall endeavour to do our part in the assessment of this occurrence with the intention of ensuring that, as far as is reasonably possible, such a tragedy will never again be experienced by our children,” the RCC said in a statement.
Police alleged that a schoolgirl made good on her threat Sunday night and burnt down the residence after the dorm mother and a teacher took away her cellphone.
A senior government official said the girl, who subsequently escaped without injury, had been communicating by the phone with an adult male.
Following is the full text of the Rights of the Commission’ statement.
The Rights of the Child Commission of Guyana (RCC) offers its sincerest condolences to and prayers for the parents, relatives, teachers and friends of the nineteen (19) students who lost their lives in the fire that occurred at the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory on Monday.
We mourn the tragic passing of:
Loreen Evans, 14, Belnisa Evans, 13, Bibi Jeffrey, 13 and Sabrina John, 16; Mary D’ Andrade, 15, and Martha D’ Andrade, 15,; and Natalie Bellarmine, Eulanda Carter, Sherina Daniels, Arianna Edwards, 13, Delecia Edwards, 15, Omefia Edwin, Adonijah Jerome, 5, Andrea Roberts, 13, Lisa Roberts, Nickleen Robinson, Cleoma Simon, Tracil Thomas, and Lorita Williams.
Few words could realistically bring comfort to the family members and peers of the deceased children. Still, we trust that they would find comfort in knowing that they are surrounded by many who are empathetic towards them in this almost unreal situation.
As the constitutional body with responsibility for oversight and monitoring of agencies and other bodies who are required to observe children’s rights, we are cognizant of the many questions and concerns that are naturally arising after this tragic occurrence. While there is no apparent cause and the pronouncement of the Guyana Fire Service is awaited, our investigative subcommittee will be following up to garner relevant information for the purposes of the mandate of the RCC. Support to the affected families and surviving children will also be offered.
We note and commend the significant outreach of the Ministries of Education and Human Services & Social Security, the University of Guyana and Non-Governmental Organizations to provide immediate critical support to sorrowing relatives and traumatised students.
As more information becomes available, we shall endeavour to do our part in the assessment of this occurrence with the intention of ensuring that, as far as is reasonably possible, such a tragedy will never again be experienced by our children.