“We want you to share in what we captured throughout the campaign in the last couple of months, between January and February 16th, what we described as a prosperity agenda. And prosperity will not come in an environment of instability, in an environment where crime and criminal activities abound.” Those were the words of Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, during opening remarks at yesterday’s meeting with Officers of the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services (SKNFRS), at SKNFRS Headquarters, Basseterre.
He was welcomed by Fire and Rescue Chief Everette O’Garro who expressed gratitude that the Prime Minister took the opportunity to visit his department. “It is not often that a sitting Prime Minister comes to visit us”, said O’Garro. He congratulated the Prime Minister on attaining higher public office two months ago and encouraged the Officers to use the opportunity to interact respectfully and freely on any issue or concern.
“I want to thank the Chief for the opportunity to meet with you but more important for me is to hear from you what your issues and concerns are so that if I can hear from you, then certainly as part of our program moving forward, the government would be put in a better position to ensure that we can respond to those needs”, said Dr. Harris after introducing his new Cabinet Secretary Mrs Josephine Huggins and Acting Permanent Secretary Mr. Osbert Desuza.
The Prime Minister emphasised the important role the SKNFRS plays, as part of the national security apparatus, in maintaining peace, security and stability, prerequisites for people empowerment and prosperity. “This unit is as important as any other unit. And we hope by what we do going forward we are able to demonstrate that in tangible ways. I know your kind of service is one where people perhaps take notice only when there is a fire perhaps, or maybe only when there is a dangerous fire. But we know that you participate in many other meaningful activities that contribute to peace and the enjoyment of good life in St. Kitts and Nevis”. He continued, “we want you too, to have a good life.”
In an effort to create greater accountability and a more enabling environment for career growth, a number of Officers passionately shared their views on a range of issues and concerns related to management, personnel, training and operations. Prime Minister Harris responded by thanking them for their candor and highlighted the importance of open dialog [between management and staff] to the process of nation building. “You are part of the security apparatus of the state and we want to ensure that you are doing what you have to do. You are doing it faithfully, loyally, diligently so that the country can reap rewards.”