Tuesday, May 30, 2023
HomeNews“There is some amount of negligence” - Norton on Mahdia dorm fire

“There is some amount of negligence” – Norton on Mahdia dorm fire

By Shemar Alleyne 


Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton said there need to be resignations from Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony and Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, following the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory fire, which claimed the lives of 19 children.

Speaking on TV6 Trinidad, Norton posited that the responsibility to protect the children was placed squarely at the feet of the government since the State runs the dorm. 

“First of all, I think one has to look at the building code and to what extent the Ministry of Public Works is ensuring that in construction, that you adhere to the building code,” the Opposition Leader noted. 

The aftermath of the fire

“Now you have a dormitory where children are living, and the information is that it was ill-equipped to be able to deal with the fire in the absence of fire extinguishers, no alarm systems, and then it is compounded by the fact that you grill this entire building.” 

The Opposition advance that with no mechanism in place for the children to get out in case of disaster constitutes “gross negligence” on the part of the authorities.

In fact, Norton said he was saddened by the absence of health supplies in the Region to deal with the injured children. 

“That, again, is a manifestation of not only negligence but incompetence on the part of the Ministry of Health,” Norton added, noting that he hopes that the authorities put mechanisms in place to ensure that this never occurs again.  

The Mahdia Secondary School dormitory fire started late Sunday evening, and the government, in response, activated a full-scale medical emergency action plan. 

In describing the government’s efforts as “reasonable,” he noted that such a response should not have been needed. 

As the country mourns,  the Opposition Leader said we must demand the highest standards, even as he calls for those responsible for the tragedy to be held “accountable.” 

To this end, Norton said the fire should not be politicised but be dealt with in an objective manner. 

A total of 59 girls were staying in the dorms, but only 56 were in the rooms when the fire started. 

Those who died, according to hospital records, are Eulanda Carter, Valerie Carter, Mary Dandrade, Martha Dandrade, Lisa Roberts, Nicholeen Robinson, Sherana Daniels, Andrea Roberts, Delicia Edwards, Ariana Edwards, Loreen Evans, Sabrina John, Belnisa Evans, Bibi Jeffrey, Natalie Bellarmine, Adonijah Jerome, Cleoma Simon, Tercell Thomas and Shurlin Bellarmine.

Thirteen of the girls and a little boy died at the dorms, while five died at the Mahdia Hospital.

Of those injured, six children were medevacked to Georgetown in the wee hours of Monday, while 17 are in the Mahdia Hospital.

The initial investigation of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) revealed that the fire was “maliciously set.”



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