BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 04, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Officers of the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services are being challenged to do the best possible job they can using the services and equipment currently at their disposal.
This challenge to the fire officers was presented by Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, when he facilitated an interactive meeting with the rank and file of the fire services earlier today (Tuesday, June 04).
“You are called upon to do the best you can today, and you are called upon to do the best you can today with what you have today—not tomorrow, not next week, not if I get appointed, not if I get an increase, but today. Today we must do the best we can with what we have today,” Prime Minister Harris impressed upon the fire officers.
Prime Minister Harris was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty, and National Security Advisor, Major General Stewart Saunders. Also, on hand were the Fire Chief, Mr. Everette O’Garro; the Force Personnel Officer, Mr. Clifford Govia; Force Chaplain, Pastor Ericson Cumberbatch, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Bishop Ron Collins.
The prime minister also expressed the full commitment of his Team Unity administration to provide the necessary support for the advancement and improvement of the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services.
Meanwhile, Fire Chief O’Garro used the opportunity of the visit to apprise the national security officials of the various programmes and operations of the department. He noted that the Fire and Rescue Services has, over the past several years, adopted new fire prevention initiatives.
“The major functions of the fire services have evolved over the years. It is no longer that we sit at a station and wait for an alarm to go off but a major part of our work now is in fire prevention. That is where we go out and spread the good news, spread the good information to companies, to schools as to the appropriate measures for them to have in place in order to prevent fires and one of the things we must realize as an upcoming and evolving organization is that it is much easier for us to prevent fires rather than for us to respond to them,” Mr. O’Garro stated.
The meeting also presented the officers the opportunity to air their concerns or views directly to the leadership of the national security apparatus on the effective and efficient running of the organization.
Concerns raised by the fire officers included permanent employment opportunities for STEP workers attached to the department, extended working hours for officers, improved working conditions, as well as the issue of overtime payment.