Inquiry ordered into fire at Drop-in Centre
An Inquiry will be launched into the death of 6-year-old Antonio George and 2-year-old Joshua George who perished in a fire while at the Children’s Drop-in Centre on Hadfield Street in Georgetown.
This was disclosed by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon during a Post Cabinet press conference on Thursday where he noted that the inquiry was an order from the President.
The Commission will be headed by Colonel, Windee Algernon and is expected to provide a preliminary report no later than July 22, 2016.
Minister Harmon said “any time a Guyanese life is lost, an inquiry have to take place…because we place a very high premium on the life of Guyanese. So the life of those two children who perished in the fire, it is something that we deeply regret as a government, as a state and the president has ordered…an inquiry into this matter…we cannot have children dying under any circumstances without it being investigated.”
The boys died after being handed over to the custody of the Child Care and Protection Agency two days before the tragedy.
In the past, the government has been accused by the opposition and sections of society of holding ‘too many’ inquiries, given the amount of monies that are spent on these probes.
However the Minister affirmed that the law provides for this, noting that “we have an Act call a Commission of Inquiries act which requires any person dies by unnatural causes, that there be an investigation/inquiry into that.”
Colonel Algernon brings to this investigation a wealth of knowledge and experience.
The Children’s Home on Hadfield St, Georgetown engulfed in flames at about 00:15 hours, on Friday July 08, 2016. Antonio George, 6 yrs and Joshua George, 2 yrs were trapped in the building and eventually perished. They leave to mourn their parents and three siblings and other relatives.
Initial police investigations revealed that fire began on the western section of the upper flat and as the fire engulfed the building, the boys were trapped in the lower flat and their bodies were later found among the debris.
The centre is administered by the Child Care and Protection Agency.