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GOVERNMENT failures over the devastating Grenfell Tower fire show its guilt in stark contrast to hard-working members of the community pitching in to help the victims, locals told the Star yesterday.
PM Theresa May arrived at the scene of the council block blaze on Thursday and was criticised for her hands-off approach to the situation.
She had met firefighters and promised a full public inquiry into the tragedy that has seen 17 people confirmed dead so far since the fire broke out early on Tuesday morning, but did not speak to residents or any of those affected.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by contrast consoled them in their grief by offering hugs and words of comfort.
He has also spoken of his anger over fire precautions in the tower that did not work.
He added: “Kensington is a tale of two cities — it is among the wealthiest parts of this country but the ward where this took place is one of the poorest.
“The judge-led public inquiry must be speedy and all residents should have access to legal aid and the support they need.
“Residents must also be rehoused, using requisition of empty properties if necessary, in the community they love.”
Antoine Albert, who has lived in Ladbroke Grove all his life, spoke to the Star about the perceived indifference from Ms May and local government. He said: “This is what Theresa May does. She did a political drive-by. She came, she saw, and was gone.
“There’s no point in asking the government to do anything when they don’t do much. They had the opportunity to do something — but they didn’t, so we, the people, just get on with it.”
Mr Albert continued: “The responsibility goes to the very top. Someone is accountable for this and if they have done something deliberately, then they should go to prison.
“Because if it was the other way around, that would be the case — 100 per cent.
“There is a double standard and the Tory council and government’s silence is guilt.”
Mark Dunn, who grew up in the area, said it was astounding to see all people of all races and religions club together while council and government representatives were nowhere to be seen.
MC CKP said Grenfell tower was a “monument of austerity” for those that lived in it and in its shadow, and the deaths were a result of continuous cuts being made to proper building materials and fire safeguards until people’s lives were cut short.
The veteran garage MC added: “We watched 9/11 burn on television, we watched this tower burn on television.
“In both cases people were jumping out of buildings, they’re similar situations with different causes. You might as well say this is our 9/11.”
The local response to the horrific fire that ripped through dozens of floors within 15 minutes — which was said to be down to the flammable exterior cladding — has been nothing short of astounding.
Community centres and places of worship have been overwhelmed with donations and offers of help.
So much food has been donated to the centres, churches and mosques that piles of perishable items have been left on trestle tables for anyone to take home with them to avoid waste.
Theo, who works at a healthy-eating restaurant in nearby Kensal Rise, offered free cooked food that his team had made to passers-by and volunteers. He did not wish to reveal the name of the restaurant.
He told the Star: “I’m a local person, these are my people and everyone needs to eat.
“The chicken went immediately, of course. We saw that survivors and volunteers were given boxed sandwiches, and we thought we should do our bit to offer them something better.”
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