Financial support, other assistance for families affected by Mahdia dormitory fire

From the beginning, the Government made it abundantly clear that it will offer every type of assistance possible and necessary to support the victims and families of the tragic Mahdia Dormitory Fire.

Thus far, medical treatment has been offered both locally and overseas, all transportation to and from Region 8 to Georgetown and accommodation in Georgetown were provided, all funeral and related expenses have been paid, and all personal items destroyed in the fire have been purchased and delivered. Psychosocial assistance, including counselling, has also been provided.

The Government pledges to continue to offer support and assistance in various ways to enable the families to continue to cope with, and recover from, this horrendous tragedy. In this regard, many family members requested cash which they could use to make purchases that would enhance their ability to continue to provide for their families. In response to these requests, Government offered each family financial assistance, and the families were requested to sign an agreement having received independent legal advice. The process of providing this financial

assistance is ongoing. In the Agreement itself, Government pledged to continue to offer such support as may be necessary to the victims and their families. Given that public monies are being expended, and recognising that these expenditures will have to be transparently accounted for, the agreements were reduced into writing. Thus far, all the affected families engaged have signed agreements.

Needless to say, a full report of all monies expended in respect of this tragedy will be made public in due course, as the process is a continuing one.

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) as promised by His Excellency the President will be established, and that Commission of Inquiry will, if it considers necessary, review all the facts and circumstances relating to the event, in accordance with its Terms of Reference. The Government’s pledge to continue to offer assistance to the victims and their families in no way affects the mandate of this intended COI, as is, unfortunately, being peddled in some quarters. The Government hopes that the wishes and welfare of the victims of this tragedy are neither exploited nor politicised, and expects that this issue will be accorded the solemnity and dignity which it rightly deserves.