The APNU+AFC Opposition has submitted a motion to the National Assembly calling on the government to construct a monument at the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory, where 20 children, including a five-year-old boy, lost their lives due to the horrific fire.
Opposition Parliamentarian Ganesh Mahipaul, who filed the motion, also asks that the Ali-led administration declare the dormitory location a historical memorial site, which is gazetted under the Guyana National Trust for maintenance and upkeep.
Further, the motion wants the National Assembly to call on the government to establish a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the deadly fire after the consultation with Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton.
In his Independence message to the nation, President Irfaan Ali had committed to establishing a COI. However, it has been over a month since the devastating fire, and the COI is yet to be announced.
The devastating Mahdia dormitory fire started on May 21, but the children’s escape was curtailed because the building was heavily grilled and padlocked.
The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) had flagged the dormitory as a hazard in November of last year and February of this year. But nothing was done.
Moreover, a report commissioned by the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, on the state of the dorms across the country with the assistance of UNICEF and the Canadian High Commission found the absence of fire safety measures, unsatisfactory conditions and the dire need for counselling for those at the Mahdia dormitory.
There have been calls for Ministers with the preview of the dorm to be held accountable, but President Ali has been playing a deaf ear. Besides, several picketing exercises were held.
A 15-year-old girl was charged with the fire but denied the allegation.