World (AP)

Guyana government reaches settlement with parents in dormitory fire that killed 20 children | AP News

Guyana government reaches settlement with parents in dormitory fire that killed 20 children | AP News

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana’s government says it will pay $25,000 to parents of each of the 20 children burned to death in a fire at a state-run high school in May, as part of a settlement to avoid any further claims in the case.

The country’s main opposition party slammed the settlement in a statement Tuesday saying it provided too little money for the families and was aimed at avoiding obligations to address safety issues raised by the fire, at a boarding school for indigenous families in the town of Mahdia in Guyana’s interior.

The May 21 fire in a heavily fortified girl’s dormitory killed 19 female students and the son of a school administrator. Officials say one of the students deliberately set the fire, and she has been arrested and charged with murder.

Other news

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — The death toll in a girl’s dormitory fire in Guyana rose to 20 on Tuesday when a 14-year-old girl died of her injuries at a hospital in Georgetown, the country’s health ministry said.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — A teenage student who police in Guyana accuse of deliberately setting a fire in a girl’s dormitory that killed 18 schoolmates and a five-year-old boy was charged Monday as an adult with 19 counts of murder.

A small group of Indigenous women in northern Guyana are flying drones and chasing data to help understand climate change and stop the worst of its impacts.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Police in Guyana conferred Wednesday with prosecutors on what charges to bring against the main teenage suspect in this week’s fire that destroyed a girl’s dormitory at a school, killing 18 students and a young boy.

Announcing the settlement late Monday, Attorney General Anil Nandlall said the families had requested the cash to “enhance their ability to continue to provide for their families” and that they all had signed agreements with the government.

The state also had taken care of all burial and related expenses back in May and June. One badly burned girl was sent to a New York hospital for specialized treatment.

The main opposition party, A Partnership For National Unity, APNU, said in a statement that the settlement wasn’t sufficient because the money isn’t enough to build a house in the capital, much less in the interior where materials are more expensive to transport.

“These students died whilst in the care and custody of the state and so the state has not been doing a favor to the families,” opposition lawmaker and attorney Amanza Walton said in the statement.

Walton accused the government of trying to insulate itself from obligations to follow recommendations by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, to address safety issues at state-run dorms, including by changing the practice of placing iron grills on widows and padlocks on doors.

Meanwhile, the government is preparing to appoint a commission of inquiry into the tragedy in the coming weeks. Retired army chief of staff Maj. Gen Joseph Singh has been appointed to head the panel, but its other members have not yet been named.