Last Updated on Saturday, 14 January 2023, 7:33 by Denis Chabrol
Fire fighters and police were Saturday continuing to probe the destruction by fire of Christ Church Secondary School, Fire Chief Gregory Wickham said.
He said it was too early to determine whether the fire at the decades-old wooden and concrete structure at Camp and Middle Streets was the work of arsonists. “Investigators are still going through the debris,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
He, however, declined to say whether samples were taken from the still smouldering debris for analysis.
Mr Wickham said the Guyana Fire Service does not play any part in the inspection and certification of wiring of buildings as that is the task of the Government Electrical Inspector. Following a much smaller fire at that school about two weeks ago, the building was rewired and certified.
Chief Education Officer Saddam Hussain has expressed surprise that the building went up in flames although chemicals were removed from the laboratory, the location of the first fire, and the building was rewired.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand and Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn have stopped short of saying that the fire was deliberately set. The North Ruimveldt Multilateral School, St George’s Primary School and the Mabaruma Secondary School have been destroyed by fire within the past three years. Investigators have said the fire at St George’s was electrical, and Mabaruma was arson
Christ Church’s 502 students were being taught by 39 teachers.
The Ministry of Education’s top officials met with teachers on Friday to discuss how to rise from the ashes and continue teaching the students especially those who are preparing for Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams. Ms. Manickchand has said that talks have begun with CXC to see how best the students who have lost their School Based Assessment materials and lab books could be facilitated.