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This is not the time. Certainly not the time. Certainly not the time for braggadocio. Certainly not the time for chest thumping. Certainly not the time for champagne popping. Certainly not the time for libations. Certainly not the time for political points scoring. For nineteen are dead. Nineteen vulnerable. Nineteen smouldering ashes. Nineteen who didn’t deserve to die. But nineteen who are dead, nonetheless.
The Noah warning
However, this was wholly avoidable. And wholly predictable. For they, PPP were warned by this very Mark’s Take column. Warned that perpetual infernos in our schools, place our children in danger. Warned that our children, in so many close calls, are in danger. So many close calls at St. George’s. So many close calls at Christ Church. So many close calls at Multilateral. So many close calls at Northwest.
But the warnings were ignored. As Mark’s Take columns dismissed. Dismissed for they pull no punches. Dismissed for language was forthright. Dismissed for daring to challenge the incompetent PPP—What will it take for you to act? Will you act when our children are reduced to smouldering ashes?
However, that written triggered much anger. Angered by the candid tone. Angered by the blunt characterisation. Angered by the column’s caption—Burn to Build. Angered despite this was the reality. Schools burnt. Schools built. No lessons learnt. No risk assessments done. No mitigations undertaken. No mitigations despite the close shaves. Close shaves that were deadly close for at least 19.
Notwithstanding, the intellectuality of the messenger was never in doubt. For the message was of much clarity. However, even with clarity, they faced a dilemma. A dilemma self-imposed—He’s APNU+AFC. Like if APNU+AFC can’t be right! Thus, for his supposed APNU+AFC affiliation, his smouldering ashes message was disregarded. Disregarded like his COVID messages. Disregarded at our children’s peril. Disregarded at their own peril. At their own peril evidenced in the Column: Burn to Build. Published date: February 19th, 2023. Of this verbatim snippet;
“However, none should celebrate that in less than 2yrs, four schools have been reduced to ashes. Where the underpinning reason is PPP laissez faire approach to our schools’ outdated infrastructure and our children’s safety. In fact, what’s on repeat display is, fire, extinguish fire, rebuild. With no lessons learnt. No mitigation to reduce recurrence.
For this we’re cognisant, it’s cheaper to install smoke and fire alarms in schools, with regular testing, than having to rebuild razed schools. It’s cheaper to have identifiable fire exits, with regular, rather than ad hoc, drills for our children. It’s cheaper to install fire exits in all our schools. It’s cheaper to have a review of all our schools’ infrastructure with remedy, to ensure their fire safe. For this we pain to ask, when will PPP be proactive? Are they awaiting a packed school, a Burn to Build cycle, with our children consequently reduced to smouldering ashes?”
Thus, our hearts are broken. Inconsolably broken. For nineteen were reduced to smouldering ashes. Ashes that can’t restore life. Ashes that raised many painful questions. Why they disregard the messenger? Why are they of such hard hearts? Why are they of such arrogance? What will it take to liberate them from their echo chamber?
Nevertheless, the wait is over. The wait for PPP to act. The wait to take steps to improve fire safety in all schools. The wait after 19 deaths! Nineteen vulnerable young children dead. Nineteen young children dead because their school wasn’t assessed for emergency fire preparedness. Nineteen young children dead for want of fire and smoke alarms.
Nineteen young children dead for want of fire extinguishers. Nineteen young children dead for want of automatic water sprinklers. Nineteen young children dead for their windows were grilled locked. Nineteen young children dead for want of keys to set themselves free.
But this is criminally negligent. For within the past 2yrs, four schools were reduced to smouldering ashes. Four warnings of what’s to come. Forewarning that one day our children too will be reduced to smouldering ashes. But what PPP did? Absolutely nothing. What the democracy fighters did? Absolutely nothing. What the PSC did? Absolutely nothing. What the otherwise vocal many did? Absolutely nothing. What this vocal column did. Sound the alarm. Warned. Made recommendations. Burn to Build, the prophetic column.
Nonetheless, they now register condolences. They now register National Days of mourning. But will heads ever roll? Not in a thousand years. For this is PPP and they see the smouldering ashes as nobodies.