Valencia residents are calling for the parents of the two toddlers who died in a fire at their home yesterday afternoon to be charged with negligence.
Speaking with reporters a couple hours after four-year-old Mawaki Gordon and his two-year-old sister, Miracle, perished in the fire at their home at Tattoo Trace, Valencia, next door neighbour Judith Daniel and Local Government councillor, Simone Gill, were highly critical of their parents, who were not at home at the time of the blaze.
Standing next to the smouldering ruins of the family's small wooden home, Daniel alleged that the toddlers, the last of the couple's five children, were regularly left unattended.
"Honest to God, I don't want to lie, they accustom leaving children to see 'bout children. Would you do that?" Daniel asked.
"This was clear negligence on the parents. There must be justice for the two children," she added.
Other residents, who were interviewed by the T&T Guardian but who asked to remain anonymous, expressed similar views.
According to reports, around 12.40 pm, the Fire Services received a report of the fire from residents who noticed smoke coming from the house.
When police and fire officers arrived on the scene, the house was already completely engulfed in fire. The fire was quickly extinguished but fire officers later found the children's remains, which were removed and taken to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, for autopsies.
The parents, a part-time taxi driver and a hairdresser, were detained by police when they arrived on the scene after receiving news of the fire. They remained in police custody up to late yesterday.
The couple's other children, who were at school at the time of the fire, were collected by police and were put in the care of officials of the Children's Authority.
Interviewed as she visited the scene yesterday, Gill described the incident as a great tragedy.
"We've had fire victims in Valencia before but nothing like this. This is the worst thing I have seen. It's different when it's children and the parents not home," she said.
Gill questioned why the parents did not seek social welfare assistance and did not place Mawaki in a kindergarten.
"They were supposed to be in day care and an early childhood centre. We have two in Valencia. There is no reason for this," she said. As she pleaded with working parents to be more responsible for their children, Gill said: "Put your children first. Ensure that your needs are not put in front of theirs. Seek out representatives, your councillor, your MP, social services. You must try," she said.
WPC Joseph of the Valencia Police Station is continuing investigations.