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Member of Parliament (MP) Ms. Nima Flue-Bess, in reflecting on the 26th May 2022 fired that killed three children in Mocha Arcadia, told Village Voice News the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory fire that killed 19 children on May 22nd has been gut wrenching experience for her and feels like “déjà vu.”
One year ago, Tracey Flue, her family and the Mocha Arcadia Community were alerted to a fire at a home in Barnwell North, Mocha which took the lives of Treshon, Timothy and Zahelia, all from one family. These children- ages one, six and eight- were the MP’s cousins.
Their mother, a single parent, employed as a security guard left them at home to go to work on the night shift. This situation of leaving children unattended, Flue-Bess said, reinforces the need for the government to look at establishing night care centres or providing support for private organisations to do so, where working parents could leave their children in the safety of adults.
The MP expressed concern the Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud, who appeared at the scene of the tragedy and told the family and community the government would look at the establishment of night care, but nothing has materialised.
Responding to how the family has been coping with the loss, she recounted “we still hurt today as we continue to move through the stages of grief. Many questions of what ifs still linger. Some profound experiences we have encountered are hearing the voices of the children calling, seeing them standing and smiling and worst of all hearing their only surviving sibling calling their names as he played.”
An emotional Flue-Bess said she is experiencing déjà vu as she follows the news in regard to how the investigations were conducted in Mahdia and sees similarities. According to her, in the Mocha situation “the investigations were done and concluded within 24 hours as we are currently witnessing for the children of Region Eight. We learnt after the postmortem that they were burnt alive.”
She pointed out that those who shared a close relationship with the three children, their lives have not been the same. “We will be forever grateful for the support we received throughout the preparation, burial and those who still call to check in.”
Grieving is a process, and not a fly by night happening, we know too well from our experience, Flue Bess shared. Extending condolences and emotional support to families in Region No. 8, the MP said the families are just going through a motion, after everything is settled then reality begins to soak in. “It might be a missed phone call, laughter or a simple hug that is missing, that keeps reminding you of their absence. For those who were on the scene the sound of screams will take a while to fade.”
Speaking to how the Flue family and community are coping, as the Mahdia family and community will be expected to do after the spotlight and photo opportunities fade, Flue Bess said, “our realities are and will be the same, as that of all the people who will await to see changes promised by the government that will prevent the reoccurrence of a similar tragedy.”
According to her the residents of Barnwell North await, after one year, a proper road which will give easy access to emergency vehicles and individuals in the event help is needed or to do their daily movements. She noted, the government did only one third of the road which does not even reach close to where these children’s lives were lost.
As in the situation of Mahdia, Flue-Bess said, “we hope it will not be déjà vu as we await and hope drastic changes will take place to ensure smoke detectors and alarms are mandatory at every school, dorm, clinic, hospital, lockup, prison, senior citizens homes etc. Architectural designs and best practices should be evaluated and implemented so that we can have our children at facilities where they are safe.”
Let’s pray and hope it does not take over a year to see these things implemented, she opined. The absence of her three cousins and the 19 children in Mahdia she said has changed our lives and expressed the desire for the souls to rest in peace.