Residents of the north of the island are being assured their safety was not being compromised by the closure of the fire station at Weston, St James.
In the wake of a series of questions tabled in the House of Assembly Tuesdat by Opposition Member of Parliament for St James North Edmund Hinkson, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite said there was nothing to fear.
“There is no compromise to the safety of the people in the north,” Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY, while explaining that the Weston station was in poor condition and Government had therefore decided to relocate its operations to the refurbished Arch Hall Fire Station and Fire Academy in St Thomas.
He added that there would be no reduction in the number of tenders, and more fire officers would be on duty at Arch Hall.
“Two tenders and [the] appropriate number of officers will be at Arch Hall. In addition, by the end of next week, it’s expected that the ambulance service will be positioned and functioning from Arch Hall,” Brathwaite revealed.
Hinkson, who first gave notice of his questions on May 11, 2017, pointed out to Brathwaite that the closure of the Weston Fire Station would leave all of the five northern parishes without emergency cover.
The Barbados Labour Party legislator also wanted to know if there were any plans to repair the Weston station.
“If there are such plans, how long is it expected that these repairs, refurbishments and or renovations will take to be completed and the fire station reopened?” he queried.
The Opposition parliamentarian also asked whether any arrangements were being put in place to cover those areas should there be an emergency.
“What plans, if any, are there for the future of this site [Weston] in the event that there are no such plans to repair, refurbish and or renovate and subsequently to reopen the fire station?”
However, while he did not respond to Hinkson’s questions in Parliament, Brathwaite immediately responded to the same series of concerns submitted to him by Barbados TODAY Tuesday afternoon, stating he had addressed these issues twice in the past.
He said a final decision had not been made on the future of the Weston station, “although we are actively looking for an alternative site as Weston has little room for development”.
Last month, when he addressed the reopening of the Arch Hall Fire Station Brathwaite had promised that the Fire Service fleet would be increased this month by two additional tenders, which would help boost the numbers.
He had said that even in the face of the country’s fiscal challenges Government had been able to stand by its pledge of ensuring the Fire Service was properly equipped, so it could carry out its work effectively.
Brathwaite said then that he was taken aback by comments that the closure of the fire station at Weston had signalled that the safety of the people living in the north would be in jeopardy.