President Ali urges responsible use of social media amid national tragedy
President, Dr. Irfaan Ali with one of the victims of the tragic fire at the vigil on Tuesday
President, Dr. Irfaan Ali with one of the victims of the tragic fire at the vigil on Tuesday

calls for national unity, compassion

IN a heartfelt address to the nation early Wednesday morning, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali called for the responsible use of social media during this period of national mourning and for support to be shown the families and children affected by the devastating Mahdia school dormitory fire.

With a sombre tone, President Ali acknowledged the power of social media as a tool for communication, but stressed the importance of adhering to guidelines and rules.

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

He urged national responsibility and respect for the families, teachers, and the community.
President Ali emphasised that this was a time to prioritise the well-being of the affected families and children over personal opinions.

“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 government, as far as possible, will fulfil the wishes and desires of the children and their families,” President Ali said.

He added, “This is a time for national responsibility, collective responsibility, and seeking your help and assistance in ensuring that we use social media in a responsible way,” as he assured the nation that his government is committed to consulting with the families and involving them in decision-making processes.

The President called for unity and emphasised prioritising the families, children, teachers, and the community above personal opinions and desires.

He implored the nation to demonstrate compassion and respect through uplifting messages, motivational quotes, prayers, and inspirational songs.

“Let us put our opinions and desires for once in the backseat and put these families and these children in the front seat as the priority of our nation at this time,” President Ali urged.

Highlighting the challenges faced by the affected families, President Ali reminded the nation of the remote locations and limited resources in the hinterland villages where many of them reside.

He stressed the importance of supporting them in their communities and respecting their views and opinions.

“Many of them have lost a major part of their families. They have different circumstances to go back to. We want to support them in those circumstances,” the President emphasised.

President Ali assured the nation that the government is committed to fulfilling the wishes and desires of the affected children and their families, working closely with them to understand their needs and provide the necessary support.

He also shared that the Weill Cornell Medicine – Burn Center, through the support of Mount Sinai Laboratory in New York, will support the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation to provide specialised medical supplies and attention to those in need.

“This is not a short-term agenda; it will be months and even years ahead of support that we must give them as a people,” President Ali declared, stressing the long-term commitment required to aid the affected families.

The President expressed gratitude for the outpouring of prayers and support from the nation, acknowledging its tremendous impact on the affected families.

He recognised that the children and their families would return to distant, isolated villages, where neighbourly support and communication services are scarce.

“We have this collective responsibility to show our love and support to these families, these children, and these communities,” he urged.

President Ali concluded his address by assuring the nation that the government, the people, and the entire country would stand by the affected families for as long as it takes.

He reiterated the need for unity and compassion during this trying time, urging everyone to prioritise the well-being and wishes of the families affected by the tragedy.

On Tuesday evening, a National Candlelight Vigil was held at the Umana Yana in Georgetown, drawing together survivors recently discharged from the hospital and their beloved family members.

The event honoured and commemorated those who had experienced harrowing ordeals, offering solace and support in the face of their shared struggles.

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