Government still consulting with potential Commissioners for Mahdia Dorm Fire Commission of Inquiry

Government still consulting with potential Commissioners for Mahdia Dorm Fire Commission of Inquiry

After announcing three weeks ago that he has identified retired Major General Joe Singh to lead the Commission of Inquiry into the deadly fire at the Mahdia Secondary School Dormitory, President Irfaan Ali today said he is still consulting with potential Commissioners.

Twenty children lost their lives in the fire. A 15-year-old student of the same Mahdia Secondary School has since been charged with 20 counts of murder, related to the setting of the fire that engulfed the dorm.

The President said he has been inching closer towards having the full Commission in place, and he is hoping to complete that task by the end of this week.

“I am in consultation with a number of potential candidates. I have not confirmed their acceptance at this time. So, I cannot dare speak on their behalf. But I’m hoping that before the end of this week, that we can have the full complement constituted for the COI,” the President said.

It was also announced that the Terms of Reference for the Commission of Inquiry will be finalised soon and made known to the public.

“We have draft Terms of Reference, almost I would say, final terms of reference, but I would not want to say final draft terms of reference, because of course, we have to have the full complement of commissioners there, and they have to have an opportunity and input also into the finalization of the terms of reference,” the Head of State explained.

The 20 children were killed when the fire that was allegedly maliciously set, ripped through the school dormitory on May 21.

The heavily grilled building made it difficult for the children to escape. However, neighbours and other persons managed to assist 25 other children in their escape.

In 2022, the UNICEF office in Guyana, warned that school dormitories in the country lacked basic safety equipment and were plagued with a number of structural defects. That report was commissioned by the Ministry of Education, but its recommendations were largely ignored. (Svetlana Marshall)

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