Resulting from a technical audit and the submission of a report by the Department of Local Government, the sum of half-a-million dollars ($500,000) has been earmarked for immediate repairs to be effected to the Montego Bay Fire Station at Freeport in St. James.
This action emanated from a meeting convened this afternoon by Minister Shahine Robinson along with board members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the technical staff of the Department of Local Government.
Just over a week ago Minister Robinson – who had responsibility then for the local government portfolio – scheduled a meeting with the hierarchy of the Jamaica Fire Brigade including board members and senior members of the Department of Local Government to address the immediate concerns and to continue discussions on the way forward in looking at a comprehensive plan for the island’s fire stations.
The Minister, in swift response to a scathing media report on the plight of the living and operational conditions of the men and women in one of the western region fire station, had mandated the technical services unit within the ministry to conduct an audit of the fire station facilities.
The technical audit was undertaken to determine the better of two options for the fire fighters who are currently being housed in less than ideal condition at the existing location. The audit team in its recommendations supported by the JFB Board of Directors identified immediate rehabilitation of the temporary facility as the priority action at this time. The scope of works is being developed by the technical team in conjunction with members of the Brigade. Work is slated to start next week.
Meanwhile, discussions have also put forward plans for exploring financial options to start the new building among other medium and long term plans for the island’s fire stations.
The original headquarters for the St. James division at 34 Barnett Street in Montego Bay was demolished sometime ago to facilitate a new and modern facility slated to cost $200million dollars. However, due to budgetary constraints the plans have been put on hold, resulting in the firefighters being relocated at their current location at Freeport.