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Gov’t will continue to lend helping hand to families, victims of the Mahdia Fire

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Memorial service, wreath laying ceremony hosted in Chenapou

On the first anniversary of the heartbreaking loss of 20 young lives who perished in a deadly fire that swept through the Mahdia School Female Dormitory, several government ministers journeyed to the Amerindian village of Chenapou for a memorial and wreath laying ceremony on Tuesday.

Among those present were Sonial Parag, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Vickram Bharrat, Minister of Natural Resources, and Kwame McCoy, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, representing the government’s continued support for the grieving families.

They joined victims, loved ones, friends and families to reminisce about the cherished memories of Martha and Mary Dandrade, Eulanda Carter and Omerfia Edwin, who hailed from Chenapou.

In her brief feature address, Minister Parag recognised the bravery of the victims’ families who all gathered strength to pay tribute to innocent lost lives.

“Today…we are thankful that the families can come out and be with us because it is not easy to face this, even if time has gone by. It’s not easy to go through and relive this, but we want to thank you for your bravery. We want to thank you for being here…with us and honouring the memory of your children,” she solemnly expressed.

She encouraged families and friends to keep their children’s memories alive to live positive lives.

The Local Government Minister also reminded them that they are not alone and that the Dr-Ali-led administration will continue to support and stand in solidarity with the families.

“We also want you to know that life can go on, using the way they lived to be able to gain strength and gain development and to allow our children to become the best versions of themselves. So,parents, you can use every tragic situation…for good, and we encourage you to do that,” Minister Parag further urged.

Minister Bharrat echoed similar sentiments, giving assurances that the administration will continue to empathize and share compassion with those affected.

“We are one family, we are one Guyana and we owe it to these children, we owe it to them that we continue to live in a way to demonstrate unity, to demonstrate cohesiveness,” Minister Bharrat underlined.

Meanwhile, Minister McCoy said this is one of the most tragic events in Guyana’s history that has shattered, not only the hearts of parents, families and friends but the entire nation.

“We too are missing them because we, in the first place as a government, believe that they form part of the collection of our children, the future of our country,” the minister expressed.

Similar memorial services were held in the villages of Micobie and Karisparu, paying tribute to Bibi Jeffrey, Loreen Evans, Sabrina John, Beinisa Evans, Nathalie Bellarmine, Nickleen Robinson, Sharlyn Bellarmine, Tracil Thomas, Lisa Roberts, Delecia Roberts, Arianna Edward, Cleoma Simon and Sherana Daniels and Adonijah Jerome.

On May 21st, 2023, tragedy struck the township of Mahdia, when a fire demolished the Mahdia Dormitory, killing 14 children in the inferno while five succumbed to their injuries at the Mahdia District Hospital.

Another young girl died days later, succumbing to their injuries.

A survivor was flown to New York for advanced treatment and is said to be recovering well after returning to Guyana.

From its inception, the government made it clear that every type of assistance possible and necessary will be provided to support the victims and families of the tragic Mahdia Fire.

Medical treatment both locally and overseas was offered to victims and transportation to and from Region Eight to Georgetown, accommodation, funeral and related expenses were taken care of by the administration.

Psychosocial and monetary assistance, including counseling, were immediately provided to the victims and families of those who perished.

Moreover, a Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) was launched to review all the facts and circumstances involving the horrendous incident.

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