(GUYANACHRONICLE)IN a national address on Tuesday, President Dr. Irfaan Ali, reaffirmed his commitment to providing extensive assistance to the families affected by the tragic incident at the Mahdia Secondary School’s female dormitory.
The President assured the nation that the government would spare no effort in supporting the victims’ relatives during this difficult time.
“I want to assure all of you that no effort will be spared. Every conceivable help, every conceivable assistance, every conceivable action that is required of the government, we will do, we will support, and we will ensure that we are with you not only this day but through this difficult time,” he said.
In line with this commitment, President Ali has assigned a government minister to each affected family to ensure that the government’s mandate of providing support is carried out effectively.
This measure aims to establish direct channels of communication and assistance for the families, ensuring that their needs are addressed promptly.
Acknowledging the outpouring of support from various quarters, President Ali expressed gratitude while assuring the affected families and all Guyanese that the government would fully support them.
“Whilst we appreciate all the offers for support, I want to assure all the families and all Guyanese that the government will support all the families and these children… We will provide all that is necessary…”
Dr Ali said that some families have requested financial compensation and he has assured them that that will be dealt with as they move from the immediate task at hand.
“As I said before, full and unconditional support will be given to every single family and every single child affected. This support is not only medical, immediate, financial, transportation, accommodation and meals. It will go far beyond this,” he said.
Additionally, a full team of psychiatrists, psychological counsellors and social workers have been assembled to provide counselling for all students, their families, teachers and members of their community.
“We have four teams working every day out of Mahdia and we’re going to ensure that these teams remain in place for the next three months… We also have a high-level team of additional doctors that will be posted to Mahdia for the next three months to provide specialised care and to support their colleagues here.
A team is also posted at the Kanuku Hotel, where we have family members and parents of those in hospitals and those who came out to identify the bodies of their children,” he said.
President Ali also announced that DNA samples extracted from the 13 bodies that were burnt beyond recognition, will be sent to the renowned Mount Sinai Laboratory in New York.
Barbadian Forensic Pathologist Dr. Shubhakar Karra Paul arrived in Guyana on Tuesday to assist local authorities in this crucial endeavour.
Dr. Paul is expected to travel to Mahdia today to collect the outstanding samples from relatives.
President Ali highlighted the importance of swift action, stating, “The team is in the process of collecting all samples from the remains and from the parents, after which those samples will be packaged and transferred sometime tomorrow [Wednesday] to Mount Sinai. They will be flown to Mount Sinai labs in New York because this lab provides the shortest return time in terms of the results,” he said.
He also said that that the funeral for Sabrina John, one of the victims of the tragic fire, will take place on Thursday in her hometown Karisparu, which is also located in Region Eight.
“I continue to pray that the mercy, love, patience of God be with all these families and be with us as a nation,” he said.