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Grenfell Testimony Week concludes

For four days last week, some of the bereaved, survivors and former residents of Grenfell Tower (“BSR’s”) gave powerful testimonies in front on the Defendants to the civil litigation arising out of the fire.

As part of the global settlement agreement reached in March 2023 between most of the BSR’s and multiple Defendants to conclude the civil litigation arising out of the fire, the Defendants agreed to fund a week-long event which would give a platform to the BSR’s to give their first-hand accounts of how the fire has impacted their lives.

After much preparation, Testimony Week took place at Church House, Westminster, and representatives from the Defendants, with the notable exception of Arconic, attended. This gave the BSR’s the opportunity to “speak truth to power” and say their piece in front of those arguably response for the fire.

Testimony Week was a success. The testimonies were extremely powerful and prompted the facilitators of the week to conclude that the BSR’s had been seen and now was the time for the Defendant’s to act.

One of our client’s, Bernadette Bernard, whose brother Raymond “Moses” Bernard died in the fire, gave her testimony on the final day of the week. Her powerful and courageous testimony included the following remarks:

The reality here today is that you (the Defendants) are not emotionally impacted by this tragedy or what I have to say, think or feel, so I do not expect you to understand the extent of the pain and emotional trauma you have brought upon my life, the life of my siblings, the life of my children and grandchildren since that horrific morning of 14 June 2017.

I sometimes smile, I sometimes laugh and I sometimes enjoy the simplest of things in life, but always right there, in the forefront of all of the above mentioned is Grenfell and what I will never be able to unsee and un-feel, the pain of loss of my Ray, my Moses,…. You stole my peace of mind….. Grenfell is always there and never leaves me….. 

I and my family don’t think my testimony today will make any difference to the behaviour of all those involved in the decisions made with regard to Grenfell Tower, because in our opinion the same views persist to this very day, for the avoidance of doubt, as a collective you all remain driven only by profit.”

At Saunders Law, we hope that our client’s justified skepticism is proven wrong and that action is taken by the Defendants to change the cultures within their organisations so that safety and human decency is prioritized to the same extent as commercial success. Time will tell, but the Grenfell community will not allow their calls to be ignored.

 

 

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