President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday informed that no stone would be left unturned to bring the perpetrators of yesterday’s Ministry of Health fire to justice.
To this end, he announced that a reward of $25M has been offered for information leading to their capture.
The fire began at approximately 03:00hrs and despite quick response and diligent operations by the Guyana Fire Service, two buildings within the Ministry’s complex were completely consumed.
The main building and annex housed a number of offices and departments, including those of Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, the Permanent Secretary, the Chief Medical Officer, the Adolescent Health and Chronic Diseases, the Nursing Council and Registry.
The Head of State lamented the effect that the fire will have on the work of the Ministry of Health, one of the keynote Ministries that delivers social services to the Guyanese population.
“It is extremely sad because this will set back the management of the sector and we would have to start rebuilding from scratch and thousands of records that are kept there, in fact the whole history of the Ministry and documents relating to people’s wellbeing and the management of programmes and systems are all gone now,” President Jagdeo explained.
The President condemned the actions of those responsible as sick and depraved, given that the Ministry of Health provides support for the whole country, particularly in the area of people’s wellbeing.
“We can only deplore this as a country, given the enormous loss of resources that the country has suffered and the possibility of a set back in the delivery of health services to our people,” he further added.
On the investigation, the Head of State said that a number of incendiary devices (channa bombs) were found by the Fire Service and further information would be provided by the Guyana Police Force. Security will be heightened at other Government offices as a precautionary measure.
He was critical of the lack of reaction from the main opposition party, noting that any decent Guyanese would condemn this action.
“I have had extensive meetings with the security forces and we are going to get to the bottom of this and we are going to get the people who did this,” President Jagdeo concluded.
He had earlier met with Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, Commissioner of Police Henry Greene and Bruce Lovell of the Guyana Defence Force, before the press briefing to be updated on the progress of the investigation.
The Health Minister, at a press conference earlier in the day, had stated that planning for the relocation of officers and departments had commenced at the scene of the fire the moment it was realised that the two buildings could not be saved.
Among those relocated were the Adolescent Health Department to National AIDS Programme Secretariat building; the Standards Department to the Blood Bank; and the Personnel Department to the Guyana Agency for Health Sciences Education, Environment and Food Policy (GAHEF) building. (GINA)
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