Scene of triplet tragedy to reopen

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Two-year-old New Zealand triplets, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, were at the mall's nursery, Gympanzee, when the fire broke out. Photo / supplied
Two-year-old New Zealand triplets, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, were at the mall's nursery, Gympanzee, when the fire broke out. Photo / supplied

The parents of Kiwi triplets killed in a Qatar mall fire are angry they were not told by authorities it was reopening.

Local officials gave the Villaggio the all-clear this week and staff were asked to prepare for a partial Thursday opening, Doha News reported.

Nineteen people, including 13 children, died when a blaze swept through the mall on May 28.

Among them were two-year-old New Zealand triplets, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, who were at the mall's nursery, Gympanzee, when the fire broke out.

Their Wellington parents Martin and Jane Weekes today issued a statement, along with the parents of the other children killed, which said they were angered mall bosses had not offered them the opportunity for private grieving at the scene of the tragedy before reopening.

"The owners and the management should be ashamed. Whilst we accept the right of Villaggio to reopen we also assert our rights as the families of the victims of this crime. Those individuals and entities responsible must face justice."

Earlier this month the court case to determine who was responsible for the fire was postponed because two of three parties charged did not turn up to court.

Mall representatives attended the hearing, but no one from the Doha Municipality - Doha's local government - or Gympanzee were there, prompting the hearing to be postponed until next month.

The statement issued today said it was unacceptable that the families had had zero communication from the Doha government.

"We have legitimate questions to be answered."

They asked shoppers who chose to return to the mall remembered the 13 children killed there.

"Remember those who died trying to save our children. And remember the negligence of Villaggio and others in allowing this to happen. And remember that justice has not been done."

- APNZ

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