The men and women of the Barbados Fire Service whose jobs are not assured have been promised “security of tenure”.
Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite made the pledge today and he also announced plans for improved training facilities at the Arch Hall fire station.
The government spokesman was speaking this morning at the official opening of the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs 2012 Leadership Symposium and annual meeting at Solidarity House.
Some Fire Service personnel are among those in the public sector waiting to be appointed to their posts, something the official said was a priority.
“We do have some issues with your security of tenure that we are working on and I wish that we can put that behind us with haste… We want when you turn up for duty on mornings that you turn up knowing that in fact … you do have the ministry behind you, that … any issue that you have work related that we can address,” he said.
“So rest assured that as minister responsible and as permanent secretary responsible that we will continue to do all within our power to ensure that any issues which you have with respect to security of tenure will be addressed.
“Maybe I can use this call to ask you to find some volunteers also so that if we do have an event that you are able to respond with the aid of additional resources,” he added.
Brathwaite also told Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall, and the audience of senior and junior officers that they could look forward to improved training accommodation at Arch Hall.
“We also recognise the importance of training. I want to assure you in fact that we do intend during the next financial year to start the work at that Arch Hall centre so that in fact you can bring your training to the level that you require,” the minister said.
Brathwaite acknowledged the important role played by fire officials here and across the region and said he wanted greater attention paid to disaster preparedness.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that we are as prepared as possible and you as fire fighters bear a significant responsibility in that regard because you are usually the first responders,” he stated.
“If we do not get it right at our initial response you cannot only risk your own life but the lives of the very people that you are going to assist and therefore it is your responsibility and our responsibility as governments to ensure that you are given the requisite training.
“Yes there is no substitute for practice, and many of you in this profession sometimes wish that you wouldn’t have to put into practise what you have learnt, because it very well means that there are lives at risk or lives might be lost, but be that as it may, you do have a responsibility to ensure that you sharpen your skills on a continuous basis.” (SC)