Mahdia tragedy: ‘We lost future teachers, nurses & doctors’ – Karisparu girls laid to rest


By Vishani Ragobeer in Karisparu

Three girls – Bibi Rita Fiona Jeffrey, Belnissa Evans and Loreen Evans – were laid to rest on Tuesday in their hometown Karisparu in Region Eight Potaro-Siparuni.

These girls and 16-year-old Sabrina John were the Karisparu students who perished in the recent fire at the female dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary School. And the close-knit community, where everyone is related in some way or the other, was plunged into mourning as the girls were buried.

Reflections on fond memories of the girls were plenty. They were remembered as jovial girls who were always respectful to their elders.

And their families and teachers all pointed out that the community had high hopes that the girls would benefit significantly from schooling at the Mahdia Secondary School before continuing their studies to become the doctors, teachers and nurses the community badly needs.

A community prayer service was held in Karisparu before the three girls- Bibi Rita Fiona Jeffrey, Loreen Evans and Belnissa Evans- were laid to rest. Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, who is performing the duties of President, and other government ministers joined the ceremony (Photo: News Room/ May 30, 2023)

“She was a decent girl, she had hopes to become a doctor but that hope was gone.

“Those girls (Belnissa, Loreen and Sabrina) were also decent girls,” Bibi’s father Roy Williams said during a community prayer service on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Bibi’s sisters, Rihana Jeffrey and Vanessa Williams, said she was the baby sister they always prayed for. Now, there is a gaping hole in their hearts.

Rihana also reflected on the other girls, her cousins.

L-R: Bibi Rita Fiona Jeffrey, Belnisa Evans, Sabrina John, Loreen Evans all perished in the fire.

“Belinissa would call me aunty.

“… and Loreen and Subrina would always call me nursey. When they see I don’t have a smile on my face, they would ask me, ‘Nursey why you vex?’ and I would tell them, ‘I vex bad, I gon eat y’all out just now’ and they would laugh (or) give me something to laugh about,” Jeffrey recalled.

Karen Boyers, another relative of the girls, pointed out that the community itself lost four of its daughters.

“All our lives we would prepare or we would say that we are preparing for something like this because there will be one day when we will have to depart from our loved ones and when this does happen, it’s like you weren’t prepared.

“We try to be strong but sometimes we are not,” Boyers said, encouraging Karisparu to find some amount of solace among each other during this trying time.

A total of 20 children, 19 girls and one boy, perished in the horrific fire. The children staying in the dorms hailed from far-flung communities in the north Pakaraimas of Region Eight.

Another four girls will be laid to rest on Wednesday in their hometown Chenapau while 10 girls and the five-year-old boy will be laid to rest in Micobie on Thursday.

Another Micobie resident, Sherana Daniels, succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday. It is not yet clear when she will be laid to rest.

The deadly fire was set by another female student who was upset that her cell phone was confiscated. The teenager has since been charged with 19 counts of murder and is remanded to the juvenile holding centre.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.