Fire victims get $20K donation from government

The government has initially pledged $20,000 in relief to the family of 13 that lost their two homes in a fire at Greenbay Hill on Friday night.

Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin said the decision was taken at a meeting with Prime Minister Gaston Browne yesterday and that a further donation could come from a charitable organisation.

“The prime minister and the government is very concerned about the plight of the persons who lost their homes and their entire livelihood in the fire. The Cabinet will make $20,000 available to the family to assist in getting back on their feet and at the same time we are approaching Share to make a donation of $5,000 available,” Benjamin said yesterday.

Aduke Antoine, her fiancé and partner of 25 years, Valmore Hill and their 10 children, lost their wooden home in the fire, along with the home of Hill’s uncle, Trevor Hill that was situated on the same property.

Antoine and Valmore had to postpone their March 18 nuptials as the fire that destroyed the houses and the contents, occurred the night before their planned wedding at the Multipurpose Cultural Centre.

Now the family of 13 is staying in a 20 x 30 two-bedroom, one-bathroom house belonging to a member of their extended family, which already had four occupants before the ordeal.

“The Ministry of Social Transformation will do what it can to assist the family to get their lives re-established as best as possible. The government is very concerned and as such we will be making a donation towards that unfortunate family who lost everything,” Benjamin added.

The attorney general said the monetary donation is to provide immediate assistance to the family.

Meantime, the fire victims also received donations of clothes, shoes, towels, food items and school supplies from the United Progressive Party (UPP) caretaker for St John’s Rural West Constituency, Richard Lewis, and Cool & Smooth.

“We wish to sincerely thank all those who so graciously assisted the fire victims from Gray’s Farm. They have received significant donations of clothes and shoes. There is still a need for food, school supplies and shelter,” Lewis said in a release.

To date, the cause of the fire has not yet been determined although well-placed sources said that investigators are of the view that it may have been electrical in nature.