Caricom Heads of Government Pledge Support to Guyana in Aftermath of Mahdia School Fire

In this photo provided by Guyana's Department of Public Information, the dormitory of a secondary school is burned in Mahdia, Guyana, Monday, May 22, 2023. A nighttime fire raced through the dormitory early Monday, killing at least 19 students and injuring several others, authorities said. (Guyana's Department of Public Information via AP Photo)
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The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of Government says they have noted the reports of the deaths of 19 young people in a fire in a school dormitory in Mahdia, Guyana, and extends “our heartfelt condolences” to all who have been affected, both directly and indirectly, by this horrific event.

In a statement on Wednesday, Caricom said “Our thoughts and prayers are with [the] Mahdia community and all of Guyana as you mourn the deaths of beloved relatives and friends.”

“We also pray for the recovery of those children who are now under medical care.

We applaud the bravery of personnel from the Guyanese fire, police and medical teams, as well as public-spirited Guyanese, who responded and helped to save lives,” it continued.

The Conference of Heads of Government also added that they stand in solidarity with the Government and people of Guyana, and “Member States have mobilised human and other resources to support the recovery process. We stand ready to offer additional support as needed.”

On Monday, Guyana officials confirmed that an overnight fire that raced through a dormitory in the country, killed 19 students who were trapped and injured several others at a government boarding school as authorities probe whether it was intentionally set. All but one of the victims were Indigenous girls.

READ: Fire razes Guyana dormitory, killing at least 19 children, mainly Indigenous girls

“This is a horrific incident. It’s tragic. It’s painful,” President Irfaan Ali said, adding that his government was mobilising all possible resources as he requested help from the region to identify the remains of 13 bodies.

Later that day, Guyana’s Acting Police Commissioner, Clifton Hicken, said the outcome of the investigations into the fire are that the blaze had been “maliciously” set.

Hicken said that DNA testing will be conducted expeditiously to identify 13 bodies that were charred, while post-mortem has been completed on six of the bodies.

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