Government should be complimented for financial assistance to families of Mahdia fire victims -AG Nandlall

Government should be complimented for financial assistance to families of Mahdia fire victims  -AG Nandlall

Attorney General Anil Nandlall has defended the Government’s decision to offer a $5 million settlement to the family of the children who died and who survived the Mahdia School Dorm fire, and he believes the Government should be complimented for its decision to offer the “financial assistance”.

During an interview on state-owned NCN TV on Monday night, the Attorney General reiterated that the Government remains committed to offering assistance to the relatives of the victims, making it clear that the Government did not have to do what it is now doing.

“We should be complimented, rather than condemned as I see some attempts are being made to do in certain quarters by this engagement. You know the Government didn’t have to do this. You realise that? We did not have to offer a cent in financial assistance. The fact is that we have done it, And not because anyone pressured us to do it, but because we felt that it is the least that could have been done and can be done in the circumstances”, Nandlall said.

The Mahdia School dormitory, where the fire took place, falls directly under the Government and is fully funded by the Government.

Under the terms of the financial assistance agreement, the parties agreed that the financial assistance should be seen as a compromise and settlement of all potential claims for liability, injury, loss and damage, concerning the events of the fire.

While noting that the Government has provided assistance to the families of the victims and will continue to offer various forms of assistance, the Attorney General stated that the agreement should not be seen as contradictory to the upcoming Commission of Inquiry into the school dorm fire.

“There is no connection between the two. The Commission of Inquiry as promised by His Excellency, will be established, and will be conducted within the Terms of Reference establishing that Commission of Inquiry”, the Attorney General explained.

He said the Terms of Reference for that Commission of Inquiry are still to be completed, and the money to be paid out as part of the agreement, should not been seen as any effort to “hush” the family from participating in the CoI.

Mr. Nandall said the money to be paid out to the families will be drawn from the public’s purse, and therefore it will have to make its way into the National Assembly and made public, since it represents money that was not catered for in the budget.

He said “I don’t know on what basis persons have come to the conclusion that it is being done is a hush manner”.

The Attorney General’s interview with the state tv followed earlier comments on Monday that he provided to News Source confirming the settlement.

A press statement from his Chambers came hours after his comments to News Source. Although the agreement was presented to the families on the 3rd of July, it was never made public until yesterday when the media broke the story.

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