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Dec 1, 2015

Attorney Offers Service to Families of Victims

Arthur Saldivar

Legal redress in the wake of Saturday’s deadly fire at the female section of the Princess Royal Youth Hostel is an option that most likely will be explored by the grieving families of the trio of teenagers who perished in the mid-afternoon blaze. There are two investigations taking place, including one by the police to determine who will be held ultimately responsible for the outcome of the inferno and if there was negligence.  The employees who were on duty at the time of the incident have been suspended by the Ministry of Human Development, under whose purview includes oversight of the facility. But still, the ministry is under fire for what is known so far, as the public demands answers to a long list of questions, including the fact that a padlock could not be opened to rescue Shadisha Arnold, Elizabeth McKoy and Ana Carlos from the room in which they were confined.  In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, blame has been placed squarely at the feet of a number of persons who fall in line with the supervision and handling of residents.  Attorney Arthur Saldivar is among those willing to provide legal counsel to the families involved.

 

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney-at-Law

“The first aspect, Isani, which is very important is that persons in authority who had direct contact or control over those individuals that were placed in that facility, in that confined space at that time ought to be held responsible criminally.  This is a homicide and it’s not necessarily a homicide that was done by virtue of a deliberate act of a person but certainly there is also homicide caused by the omission to act by someone in legal responsibility to do something.  And this is what we are looking at right now.  It basically behooves me that the police have not played an integral role thus far in what’s going on at the hostel in relation to this tragedy that has occurred.  Three Belizean lives have been lost and it’s important that we look at this situation as serious as it is to have it mark a watershed moment where a change is made as it relates to children in our society.  Too many of our children have been killed and caused to die without legal redress, this is one instance where I believe it’s not rocket science, it should not take a month, it should not take a week, it should not even take a day to determine who’s responsible here.  The first responsibility has to be with the person who received them from the police on that evening on Saturday or whenever it was and placed them in a place where they could not escape.  Where was that person while this fire was going on?  We need to know.  And if that person was not at the post where he or she should have been then that person should now be behind bars remanded, awaiting prosecution.  So we should not even be talking about investigation, we should be talking about arrest and prosecution at this particular juncture.”

 

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