The Hon. Shahine Robinson, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Housing, Environment, Water and Local Government with responsibility for local government is this evening assuring firefighters housed at a temporary facility in Montego Bay that every effort is being made to alleviate their working condition as quickly as possible.
The Minister, in swift response to a media report on the plight of the living and operational conditions of the men and women in the Western region has mandated the technical services unit within the ministry to conduct a technical audit of the fire station facility at the Freeport in Montego Bay, by tomorrow, Wednesday, November 23, 2011. In addition she has also announced that the sum of $14million has been earmarked in the interim to do minor remedial work to fire stations islandwide.
The technical audit is being 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 is expected to determine whether the approximately 120 firefighters are to be relocated or the facility will be upgraded.
Meanwhile, the Minister will be meeting with the hierarchy of the Jamaica Fire Brigade including board members and senior members of the Department of Local Government to continue discussions on the way forward in looking at a comprehensive plan 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.