Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 August 2023, 17:18 by Denis Chabrol
The Terms of Reference for the Commission of Inquiry into the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory fire is silent on the issue of compensation for the surviving relatives of the 20 children who were burnt to death and several others who were injured.
Under the chairmanship of Retired Major General Joseph Singh, the three-member commission has been tasked with probing the causes and circumstances of the fire on May 20/21, 2023, and the events and circumstances leading up to the deaths and injuries of occupants of the dormitory and the destruction of that facility.
President Irfaan Ali has also mandated the Commission to “make such observations and recommendations” as it sees fit. These may include measures and actions that the commission may consider necessary and appropriate to avoid a recurrence of this tragedy.
The other members of the Commission are Attorney-at- Law, Joycelin Kim Kyte-Thomas and Chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Derrick John. Attorney- at- Law, Javed Shadick is the Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry.
Dr Ali had already shrugged off questions about why government had provided GY$5 million as a final settlement to each of the families before the holding of the Commission of Inquiry.
A teenage female student has been charged with 20 counts of murder and has been remanded to the juvenile holding facility. Nineteen female students and the son of the dormitory’s caretaker at the time perished in the blaze.
The Commission of Inquiry into the fire, according to the Terms of Reference, is for the “public welfare.”
Earlier this month, during consideration of additional funds for the education sector, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand told the National Assembly that cabinet has been mandated to ensure that all dormitories are assessed, and remedial works done to ensure they are safe in keeping with standards including fire prevention and safety.