Government is to build its sixth fire station across the street from three schools on Pine Plantation Road, Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson has announced.
He made the disclosure following a tour of the Arch Hall, St. John and Worthing Fire Stations earlier this week.
He said: “Cabinet recently agreed that a new fire station should be built in the Pine area, where the Ministry of Transport and Works have their property opposite the Ann Hill School,” Hinkson said.
Apart from the school for children with learning disabilities, the campuses across from the MTW depot also house the Irving Wilson School for the deaf and blind and Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School.
Hinkson stated that his ministry was presently working to get a team of professionals together to manage the project, and would soon invite expressions of interest for architects, quantity surveyors and contractors.
He said visits were also conducted at the airport and Bridgetown stations three months ago, with remedial work being carried out on the Probyn Street headquarters, which was built in 1950.
“The main station that had infrastructural issues was Probyn Street. We went there in February this year and we asked the Project Office in the ministry to do some repair and remedial work, which is now almost completed,” he said, adding that the fire officers appeared to be pleased with the improvements.
He also disclosed that the ministry was seeking to have the issue of appointments within the fire service addressed.
Hinkson said: “My understanding is that out of the 187 fire officers in Barbados, only three are appointed. That is the chief, the deputy and a divisional officer and that is unacceptable. It has an effect, even if in a minor way, on the morale of the officers.”
But during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, he suggested the appointment gap was part of a wider problem throughout the civil service.
“There are too many people in acting appointments, and the situation has been compounded by the Qualification Order, which came into effect about three to four years ago,” he said.
Hinkson said the Ministry of Home Affairs was in the process of finalising a brief for the Ministry of the Public Service to inform their discussions, as it relates to its departments, especially the Barbados Fire Service, the Barbados Prison Service and the Immigration Department.
“The conditions under which fire officers work has to be, and is at the core of the issues and the concerns of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the wider Government,” he said.
“We are addressing them and have agreed that we will all work together in the interest of the Fire Service which is a significant department in Government.”