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Put disaster victims first, says Grenfell relative

Woman who lost two members of her family in tower fire seeks government pledge to reduce ‘pain and suffering’

22 December, 2017 — By Angela Cobbinah

Clarrie Mendy: ‘Already we are concerned that the Grenfell public inquiry isn’t taking into account the views of bereaved families, survivors and the local community’

A RELATIVE of two people who perished in the Grenfell Tower fire has launched a petition calling on the government to sign a charter pledging a “substantial change” in the way it treats those affected by public disasters.

Clarrie Mendy was prompted by the former Bishop of Liverpool’s report on the experiences of Hillsborough families, which said a substantial change of attitude was needed to ensure that their “pain and suffering” were not repeated.

“He proposed that public bodies sign up to a special charter that committed them to place the public interest above their own in the event of a tragedy and to act in a transparent and honest manner,” said Ms Mendy, whose cousin, Mary Mendy and her daughter Khadija Saye, 24, died in June 14 fire.

“The government must implement his recommendations by signing up to the charter to show it has learned the lessons of Hillsborough and to ensure that the perspective of bereaved families is never lost.”

Khadija Saye and Mary Mendy on a makeshift memorial close to Grenfell

Ms Mendy, founder of the campaign group Relative Justice for Grenfell, launched the petition on Tuesday via the government’s online petitions service that commits it to debating the matter in parliament if 100,000-plus signatures are obtained.

“So far the government has not responded to the bishop’s recommendations and the petition is a way of putting pressure on it to do so,” she added. Titled The Patronising Disposition of Unaccountable Power, Bishop James Jones’s report was commissioned by Theresa May while she was home secretary in 2016 following the unlawful killings verdicts in the second Hillsborough inquests and was published in early November.

Describing the way families were treated after the 1989 football stadium disaster as “a burning injustice”, the bishop said that he was confident that anyone affected by Grenfell Tower fire would find “many, many resonances” with his findings.

“Of course, we do,” said Ms Mendy, who met the cleric earlier this month.

“Already we are concerned that the Grenfell public inquiry isn’t taking into account the views of bereaved families, survivors and the local community.”

The deadline for the petition, Create a Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy, is June next year.


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