GTA reviewing regulations for hotel standards following Pegasus fire

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“We are in the process of updating our regulations relating to different subsectors. Currently, we regulated interior hotels; other hotels would fall under the coastal Georgetown city municipality-based hotels, tour operators and guides. We’re updating those regulations so that they reflect best practice in 2018 and into the future. So we’ll be working with hoteliers like Pegasus to get them up to those higher standards as well.”

These were the words of Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Brian Mullis, who in an interview with this media group on Tuesday said that the Authority is determining exactly happened on Sunday night last when a major fire disaster was averted at the Pegasus Hotel.

Following the kitchen fire that saw guests being evacuated, concerns were raised after  emergency exits were reportedly sealed and smoke alarms were reportedly dysfunctional.

GTA Director Brian Mullis

Mullis declared that that agency has now become actively involved in the issue because the Pegasus Hotel had never previously been flagged for safety violations.

“One of the agencies that we depend on is the Fire Department (GFS). So any operator or hotelier, before they can be licensed by the GTA, has to (pass through) the Fire Department. So that falls, to some extent, out of our purview, though safety is within our regulation as well. So our input will be to understand the situation,” he explained.

“We’ve reached out to Pegasus proactively when we heard about the situation. (We want) to come in and understand the situation first hand, because we have heard at least two sides to the story. So we want to understand to what extent safety and security considerations are in place now,” Mullis explained.

According to Mullis, the GTA wants to work with the Pegasus hotel to ensure that its safety standards are effective. When it comes to scrutiny of hotels in general, Mullis revealed, work is ongoing to review the regulations.

“We are in the process of updating our regulations relating to different subsectors. Currently, we regulated interior hotels; other hotels would fall under the coastal Georgetown city municipality-based hotels, tour operators and guides. We’re updating those regulations so that they reflect best practice in 2018 and into the future. So we’ll be working with hoteliers like Pegasus to get them up to those higher standards as well.”

The Pegasus Hotel

A statement from the Pegasus Hotel has declared that the fire was extinguished by staff themselves, and that the smoke alarm in the kitchen did go off. According to the statement, guests were evacuated “out of an abundance of caution…”

“We understand the anxieties of our guests, who were inconvenienced. We are pleased that all guests were returned to their rooms within a short period of time, and that there were no injuries or any need for relocation to another property or alternative accommodation,” the hotel stated in a release on Tuesday evening.

On Monday, the United States State Department issued an alert on the Pegasus Hotel. The alert came hours after the fire was averted at the hotel on Sunday night. However, the State Department has announced that US Government personnel staying at the hotel have decided to move to other locations.

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