Stabroek News Sunday

PNCR wants day of remembranc­e for Mahdia fire victims


The main opposition party, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) is calling for an annual national day of remembranc­e honouring the victims of the Mahdia Secondary School Dormitory fire.

On May 22, the first anniversar­y of the devastatin­g Mahdia Secondary School Dormitory fire, which claimed the lives of 20 children last year, was observed. To commemorat­e the anniversar­y, Prime Minister Mark Phillips; Ministers of Labour Joseph Hamilton; Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond; and Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues journeyed to Micobie for a memorial service and wreath laying ceremony for the 12 children from the Region Eight village who died in the fire.

“We noted the announceme­nt of the government on Monday, in the person of Prime Minister Mark Phillips, that a memorial site will be establishe­d in Region #8 to honour the lost lives. We suspect that this site will likely be a small space and physical structure, visible only to those who happen to pass by. However, while supporting this belated proposal for a memorial, we wish to adopt a more serious approach,” the party said in a statement, read on Friday by Member of Parliament (MP) Ganesh Mahipaul.

In its statement the Opposition joined in the remembranc­e and commemorat­ion of the tragedy, extending its thoughts and support to the families and communitie­s affected by the disaster. The Opposition further expressed the belief that the government’s plans for a memorial site would not suffice to keep the memory of the tragedy alive.

“We believe that we must memorializ­e the event in a manner that will not cause it to slip out of the national memory and consciousn­ess due to time, or lack of visibility and prominence,” the statement said.

As such, the Opposition recommende­d that May 22nd, the anniversar­y of the fire, be designated as Mahdia children fire victims’ day. This annual observance, it pointed out, would provide a fitting opportunit­y for the nation to collective­ly remember the tragedy and its victims, and recommit to higher standards of public administra­tion, moral duty, profession­al conduct, and government­al responsibi­lity and accountabi­lity.

“These twenty young lives must not be lost in vain. To honour them truly and meaningful­ly, the country must be made a better, safer, and more caring place for children and all other vulnerable and dependent citizens. To continue as before or with mere cosmetic changes is to dishonour them,” it noted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana