One hundred and fifty persons were presented as the first set of graduates in a special volunteer introductory firefighting training course – a collaboration between the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and the Government of Japan.
“Today’s graduates have studied hard and are now enjoying this important achievement, which has been inspired by their spirit of volunteerism,” said Honourable Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, during a special ceremony at the CMU’s main campus in Palisadoes, Kingston on April 25, 2018.
“When we consider the historical warmth and enduring ties between the Governments of Jamaica and Japan; the value of partnership is there for all to see.”
He underscored the importance of a sound fire service to the preservation of lives and properties.
“The responsibilities of our firefighters include inspection of structures and community education which are critical to spatial management; the integrity of the built environment; community development and national development.”
According to His Excellency Hiromasa Yamazaki, Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, there has been a long and productive relationship between his country and the CMU (formerly Caribbean Maritime Institute).
Ambassador Yamazaki said their donation of three fire trucks and an ambulance, which came through the Grassroots and Human Security Projects, has a value of J$9.6 million.
“Congratulations to each graduate who will serve and today represents another milestone that should be replicated across Jamaica.”
Minister McKenzie lauded the CMU’s President, Professor Fritz Pinnock and his team for their advocacy to the Japanese Government that resulted in the donation of fire equipment that will serve Port Royal and its environs.
“This Project has many elements of the Jamaica Fire Brigade’s Community and Life Safety Programme, which was introduced last year and has been implemented in some 26 communities to date,” he said. “The work being done through this initiative, especially education workshops and the creation of community fire-watch groups, cannot be overemphasized.”
The 150 graduates will form part of the voluntary firefighting reserve that will be managed through the Project for the Improvement of Ambulance and Fire Trucks of Emergency Response in Port Royal and its environs. They were also urged to be exercise professionalism and to take the campaign of fire prevention to their communities.
“The improvement in firefighting equipment and services is critical as we anticipate the development of Port Royal as cultural and tourism centres including cruise shipping infrastructure,’ the Minister noted.
“The prepraration of these volunteers for service in this way would not have been possible at this time without the donation of fire trucks and an ambulance by the Government of Japan in August last year…the generosity of our Japanese partners have been excellent over the years.”
Minister McKenzie also highlighted that the Fire Safety and Protection Programme is one of the Ministry’s priority areas for the 2018/2019.