Guyana’s President urges citizens to stay away from social media following deadly fire at girls’

By Hanan Redwan Published on May 24, 2023
Guyana’s President urges citizens to stay away from social media following deadly fire at girls’

President of Guyana, Irfaan Ali, on Wednesday urged citizens at home and abroad to refrain from using social media for self-generated analysis of the fire that engulfed the dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary School on Monday, killing 19 students and injuring several others.

“I am urging all Guyanese to desist from self-analysis, from reviewing timelines in the stories of all these girls, and from analysing the life story of all of these girls at this time,” he said.

“There is a time and place for everything. Let us focus on using of social media for motivational quotes, prayers, inspirational songs, uplifting messages and not an opportunity to theorise and come up with our own theories on these beautiful children’s lives.

“Yes, we are a very opinionated society. We all have opinions on what is right and wrong and what should and should not be done but as I said before, myself and the government, as far as possible, will fulfil the wishes and desires of the children and their families. It is the least we can do and everything we are doing we are doing it in consultation with the families,” Ali said in a broadcast on his Facebook page, adding “this is a time for national responsibility, collective responsibility in seeking your help in issuing social media in a responsible way at this time.

Police say they will send a file to the Director of Public Prosecution on Wednesday after indicating that a female student may have played a role in setting the fire to the building that housed female students from Mahdia, Campbelltown, Micobie, El Paso and several other villages in the North Pakaraimas in Region 8.

In a statement, the police said that the investigations so far “reveal that a female student is suspected of having set the devastating fire because her cellular phone was taken away by the dorm’s mother and a teacher”


It said that at the time of the fire, there were 57 female students in the one-flat concrete building measuring about 100 feet by 40 feet, with several windows, all grilled, and five doors. One boy was among the 19 children killed.

On Tuesday, a candlelight vigil was held at the Umana Yana in the capital and attended by survivors who were recently released from the hospital and family members.

In his broadcast, President Ali urged citizens to “put your opinions in a backseat and let’s put these children in the front seat as a priority.

“I ask all of us to do the same. Let us put our opinions and our desires for once in the back seat and put these families and these children in the front seat. Let them be the priority of our nation at this time,” Ali said, urging a collective show of love for those affected by the tragedy.

Hanan Redwan

Hanan Redwan

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