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Jan 11, 2016

“Boots” Martinez Speaks on Hostel Fire Investigation

It is now six weeks since three minors perished during a fire at the Youth Hostel near mile twenty-one and a half on the George Price Highway and still there are no official findings on the deaths of the three girls.  On the afternoon of November twenty-seventh 2015, a massive fire started inside a room where sixteen year olds Ana Melinda Carlos and Shadisha Arnold and fourteen year old Elizabeth McKoy were locked away. They were being punished for running away the previous day. Both a criminal and an independent investigation were launched; the latter being sanctioned by the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation. The Executive Director of the National Committee for Children and Family, Margaret Nicholas was brought in to determine if protocols were breached and who was responsible. The ministry has been mum on the results of any investigation, but on Saturday night when News Five caught up with Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez we asked him for an update.

 

Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation & Poverty Alleviation

“It was an investigation, a full-fledged investigation; that should be concluded, I was briefed about the third week in January and we will be coming to the media holding a press conference in terms of what is the findings overall.”

 

Duane Moody

“Sir we know that at least two persons were placed on immediate suspension following this event. Could you give us an update on that? What of them? Are they still on suspension? Have they been terminated? What’s happening?”

 

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

“Well I haven’t been abreast of the fine-tuning of that aspect, but I think the report will speak to everything in terms of who has been terminated. If I am to recall, I think one person…nobody has been terminated, but one of the officers contracts came to an end in December and it was not renewed again and I think one officer was suspended in the initial stages. I don’t want to talk too fast and preempt anything. But whatsoever will happen, the necessary action…but one thing I am certain that was hinted to me was that there was a lot of breach of protocol along the lines causing that fire.”

 

Duane Moody

“Sir, talk to us exactly about that. The fact that it would seem that there were breaches in protocol not only in what had transpired, but locking up these girls with that padlock inside that room and not being able to get them out. Talk to us about that.”

 

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

“Well I don’t want to preempt the investigation. I haven’t gotten a look at the investigation as yet, but I am certain, from a layman’s term, as the minister; the day when that happened, I went up to hostel and I pinpointed there was breaches in terms of regulations and so I would leave it at that. I don’t want to prejudice the investigation and so I think that the third week in January, we will hold a press conference and bring the whole thing to the public.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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