The Fire Service celebrated its 63rd anniversary with a march past, during which the Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson took the official salute, following a three-hour long service at the St Bartholomew Anglican Church on Sunday.
In his sermon, Priest in Charge Ian Claridge defended Acting Prime Minister Dale Marshall’s decision not to implement a national shut down during the passage of Tropical Storm Kirk.
“Just because the advice is not what we expect or what we would look for, it does not mean that it was not well intended and sought to do what is right… Far too often we seek advice and what is needed, yet still we go out and do what we have normally done. Just because we see someone doing something a different way, we say we have never done it like that. We have never seen it that way,” Claridge told the congregation.
The Anglican Priest also joined the Acting Prime Minister in commending members of the Barbados Fire Service for their stellar work in the aftermath of Kirk.
“The same brave young men and women were acknowledged by the acting Prime Minister who said and I quote: ‘Double their level of gallantry by the BDF, the Fire Services and the RBPF in terms of rescue efforts. If it is one thing that this showed us is that we have first-class capacity in those areas. Those lessons that we have learned point us in the right direction,’” he said, adding that as the church focuses on the salvation of spiritual service, it must acknowledge the work of the great young men who save physical lives and properties.
“They go out and brave the elements and seek to secure our society in not only difficult times. Constantly, they are preparing to answer the call whenever it is issued,” he said.
The Minister of Home Affairs joined Claridge in thanking the fire officers.
“I want to commend the members of the Barbados Fire Service for their steadfast resolve even in times of difficult restraint. You have consistently risen to the challenge with distinction as said by Reverend Claridge. I commend your efforts on Thursday night in terms of the rescue mission for some of those who found themselves in difficulty with the passage of Tropical Storm Kirk. I commend you and thank you on behalf of the Government and the people of Barbados. With God’s help and guidance [Kirk] did not cause as much damage as it could have,” Hinkson said, adding that Government is seeking to curb some of the trying circumstances under which the Barbados Fire Service works.
“It has been brought to my attention that the lack of promotion and the shortage of staff is one of the many challenges and the Government of Barbados will seek to resolve these issues as soon as possible,” he said to shouts of ‘thank you’ from the firemen in the audience.
Hinkson, who is also the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces, told the fire officers that the Government has already started to rectify their concerns with the increase in public servants salaries.
“We have started to address some of your concerns giving all public servants, including the Barbados Fire Service, a five per cent increase in salaries which should have taken effect a couple months ago… Be assured that this administration is committed to an increase in the Barbados Fire Service to its worthwhile pursuit since this approach will enhance efficiency and increase productivity,” he said.
The Barbados Fire Service continued its week of activities with a Health and Wellness Exhibit at Probyn Street on Monday during which various health and wellness entities informed firemen and the public about the benefits of maintaining good health. (LG)