Mahdia CoI assures seamless, impartial investigation

─ Commissioners to visit Region Eight on Wednesday

The Presidential Commission tasked with investigating the events surrounding the tragic fire at the Mahdia Dormitory that claimed the lives of 20 children has assured of a fair, impartial and seamless operation.

This assurance was given by Secretary of the CoI, Javed Shaddick, during a press briefing on Tuesday.

Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry, Javed Shaddick

He said this inquiry will differ from that of the CoI into the 2020 general and regional elections, and of key priority is the protection of the rights of the children.

“Some of the persons we will have to be speaking with are children, and in circumstances such as these, we have to be very protective of their rights, and as we move forward, we will try our best to ensure that those rights are protected at all times. For the other aspects of the inquiry, we will be broadcasting it, as was done in the last one,” he shared.

On Wednesday, the Commission is expected to conduct a familiarisation visit to Region Eight.

“There will be a site visit to the Mahdia dorm, where the tragedy occurred, and there will be a visit to some of the connecting communities, but the visit is just to allow the commissioners to have an understanding of how travelling is done in those areas.”

This visit is also intended to provide a general understanding of the layout of the land, as well as to assist in analysing the social and economic circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Shaddick noted that this is well within the scope of the investigation.

On August 10, President Ali appointed Major General (Ret’d), Joe Singh, to serve as Chairman of the CoI, alongside Chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Derrick John, and attorney, Dr. Kim Kyte- Thomas.

According to the Terms of Reference, the commissioners are required to inquire into and report on the events and circumstances leading up to and causes of the Mahdia Dormitory Fire on the night in question, as well as the actions taken to provide swift care, medical attention and other forms of support and assistance to the injured and their families, and to the families and relatives of the deceased.

Additionally, the commissioners are required to make recommendations deemed fit by the commission, including those considered necessary to prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy.

The CoI is mandated to submit its report, findings and recommendations to the President within two months.

In May, a deadly fire ripped through the Mahdia Girls’ Dormitory, resulting in the death of 19 girls and one boy. Since then, government has availed itself to provide continuous support to the families of the injured, and the families of the deceased, in several forms.