In the aftermath of the Madhia tragedy that claimed 20 lives the salientquestion remains: how serious is the ongoing Commission of Inquiry? Given the facts that the dormitory where the fire occurred was deemed unsafe by both fire personnel and regional executives one can surmise that if the government could not fix the unsafe conditions prior to the worst fire in Guyana would the PPP regime act with any semblance of alacrity to enact and construct what the Commission decides? Guyanese must recall that a report on school dormitories was commissioned by the Ministry of Education and was done by Deen and Partners, paid for by UNICEF and shared with the relevant parties years before this tragedy. It stands to reason that little, if anything was done following the report.
Education Minister, Priya Manichand, of feral blast infamy at the US Ambassador’s residence, is a vital link in the chain of events leading up to the fire, yet she will not be called upon to testify! As a former Minister of Social Services, who presided over the murder and dismemberment of teenager Neesa Gopaul in 2011, this particular office holder had two bites of the guava indicating a fat heap of knowledge of the state of dorms across the country! She remains ultimately responsible because she failed to act and follow up with the seriousness and speed that the UNICEF report she commissioned proposed. Instead she has sent her assistant who ,when asked why still nothing was done in light of the UNICEF report, Chief Education Officer Saddam Hussein replied that ‘the Department of Education in Region Four has no say on how things should be in Region Eight as that region’s education department is entrusted with those responsibilities.’
The sad reality is the incessant outpourings on social media and the dailies on her inability to obtain copies of the UNICEF recommendations and the misgivings of the failed inept previous Coalition gov’t; hammering away that the relevant region–not the Minister- bears responsibility for the maintenance of the dorms. This misfit is declaring that she is responsible to fix only the front wheel of her bicycle, some other agency should fix the other one. Then there is the absence of Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai, (the Minister who received over $2 million worth of dental work in Canada) would visit Madhia and would remain in the hotel all day, go out and gamble and but does not visit the community. This needs to be investigated as taxpayers pay her airfare and accommodations.If true, does she pay her own airfare or does the Ministry? If the safety of the dorm falls under the local and regional authorities then why former Minister Nigel Dharamlall is nit testifying?
Like previous Inquiry Commissions starting with the Power Barge purchase10 1987 by PNC Minister Robert Corbin, BO Adams into the October 1992 Election riots, the 2020 Election and manipulation of Region 4 count this ongoing talk show will dissipate like its predecessors.Judging from testimony and unwillingness to testify this seems a case of political directive from the apparachnick colossus the nation is witnessing in the current dominance of all state institutions by the regime that won by 1 seat ?
After millions has been spent into this Inquiry I can say that whatever is unearthed and recommended I could have told this government this —for free! I have given numerous documents to various ministers, including the VP and the President on building codes, construction and designs, quality control of building material and maintenance, along with electrical codes and fire safety. My 20 plus years of building experience is enough to be taken seriously. The best advice for the Commission is to implement safety systems. The acronym R-A-C-E-E, which stands for RESCUE, ALARM, CONTAIN, EXTINGUISH and EVACUATE must be the guideline for safety in all buildings.
Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine
Real Estate builder