One thing your Eyewitness will say: this tragedy at Mahdia better lead to changes in so many ways so that nothing like it ever happens again in our country. That’s the only way we can effectively express some kind of remorse for those poor children who perished in the conflagration – albeit set by one of their own. Your Eyewitness knows an investigation’s under way, but the questions mount in his mind and his head feels like it’ll explode. How could one mattress set ablaze start the conflagration?? How did the fire spread into the several rooms he assumed were sealed off from each other. Or weren’t they?? And the fire leapt across walls that didn’t extend to the ceilings??
His mind’s tortured with such questions because he just doesn’t want to deal with the horror of those poor children trapped by smoke and the flames; gasping for breath and finally perishing. There must have been the screams that went unanswered. And the questions keep coming. Why were the windows all grilled?? He’s told the girls frequently left the dormitory via that route at nights to frolic in neighbouring hang-out spots. So we created a prison and threw away the keys to keep them on the straight and narrow?? Isn’t that sorta like swinging a sledgehammer to kill a fly on your friend’s forehead??
What do the codes say about placing grills on windows and doors in institutions housing people?? Are there codes on such grills that prescribe standards to deal with such contingencies? After all, we do have several instances with people who were trapped and killed in such structures. Wasn’t there a famous cultural artiste named Laxmi Kallicharan who perished in such circumstances some time ago?? In the case of the dorms, putting grills in place without having someone with a means of getting them open, was just asking for a tragedy.
Shouldn’t there have been a guard assigned 24/7 for such contingencies?? Were drills conducted with students, guards and the matron to deal with such a contingency?? Your Eyewitness read that the matron attempted to get the door open – left her son alone in their adjoining flat and he unfortunately also perished. She was always gonna be too late – since she would be reacting from a distance after the fire and smoke had percolated throughout the dormitory.
The Government, the nation and even other countries have responded with great empathy for the tragedy. Right now, apart from seizing the moment to make the changes suggested above – among others – we must all reach out to the grieving families in those remote communities. They’ll be going through the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – and the nation must be patient.
Your Eyewitness is quite chuffed that a Guyana Ghana Chamber of Commerce (GGCC) was launched. Ghana’s history is intertwined with us at so many levels. In pre-history, we were literally joined together physically – until we drifted apart as the continents of Africa and South America! Many of the Africans dragged across the Atlantic and enslaved to work on our plantations were from what’s now Ghana. Cuffy was an Akan Ghanaian.
More recently, Ghana was the first African colony to gain independence from Britain in 1957 and we launched “Ghana Day” celebrations here. In this millennium, Ghana struck oil offshore in 2011 and offered a clue that as geological twins, we likely also had oil off our shore. And that’s where we can benefit from their experience in handling their O&G sector – built over a historical agricultural base.
While some may scoff that they haven’t been THAT successful, we can also learn from their mistakes. And with THEIR cocoa and OUR sugar we may launch a chocolate industry!!
…a neoliberal world
Let’s accept that mega infrastructure’s gonna be built to extract, process and transport resources. Agriculture developed into a high-productivity, low-employment, cash-cropping sector. And production for export gonna be prioritised for growth and foreign exchange earnings.