Fire officers who are awaiting promotions have been told to hold tight, they are on their way.
Minister of Home Affairs and Information Wilfred Abrahams today assured members of the Barbados Fire Service (BFS) that the Government was working toward ensuring that the long-awaited promotions are addressed in a transparent manner and in the shortest timeframe. He thanked them for their patience and understanding in this regard.
“You have produced and performed at the highest level with limited resources. The service will be provided with additional support as you currently have 20 officers in training and another 24 should be joining them in another month or so. We as a government are working on ensuring that you have enough personnel to continue to effectively service the public of Barbados,” Abrahams said as he delivered remarks during the Barbados Fire Service’s medal ceremony at the Arch Hall Fire Station, Arch Hall, St Thomas on Friday.
The minister said he was also pleased that the BFS had embraced technology, moving from a paper-based operation to a technology-driven and virtually paperless work environment. He also highlighted that the fire service had also adopted technical and rope rescue procedures, which can greatly assist when officers respond to calls for assistance.
Over two dozen fire officers received medals for 15 years’ of service to the department. Abrahams told the awardees that their role and contribution to all who live, work and invest in Barbados is critical, adding that there was no greater calling or contribution that they could make, than service to their fellowman. However, the minister said that it was unfortunate that such service was usually unrecognised and underappreciated.
“Nevertheless, we as a government do recognise your efforts and selfless sacrifice through your service to your country and therefore we honour you this morning with these service medals.
“I further commend you for weathering the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. You were there from the beginning, and your maturity and commitment ensured that even when the service was impacted, you were still able to serve and keep the public safe. Your sacrifice and your accomplishments have been noted and will not be ignored.” Abrahams said.
Chief Fire Officer, Errol Maynard, during his remarks, indicated that those officers who were unable to attend the ceremony because of duty or other engagements, would receive their medals in six weeks.
He said firefighting and fire officers are very often forgotten until there is an emergency and cry for help, and added that many times, out of ignorance, people would ask what is it that fire officers do when there are no reported fires.
“I assure all of you in the hearing of my voice that the extremely brave and selfless men and women that we call firefighters/fire officers, are always in a prepared state of readiness to respond to and mitigate all sorts of emergencies, except those that require a gun to resolve
“Today, as your leader and your servant, I salute you, I commend you and I congratulate you on your achievement. You deserve this medal and I beseech you to wear it with pride and honour,” Maynard said.
Following the ceremony, Minister Abrahams, the CFO and other officials journeyed to St George to deliver a medal to fire officer Vera Wilkinson who was ill and unable to attend the function at Arch Hall.
Maynard told members of the media that Wilkinson is a very conscientious worker who won the Chief Fire Officer’s Award of Dedication just before the COVID-19 pandemic because of her commitment to duty and the service.
“Once she can be there she would give her 100 per cent. If she can’t be there, she wouldn’t be there, but she would give 100 per cent. As a matter of fact she could not even walk and she was still worrying about the work. She is a very dedicated worker and when I recognised that she could not even make it to the ceremony, I asked the minister if he would come and present it home and he agreed immediately to do so,” Maynard said. (AH)