MEMBER of Parliament for West Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, has tabled a motion in the House of Representatives seeking emergency funding to boost the capacity of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) to deal with the current spate of fires.
McKenzie’s motion is also seeking to have the annual report on the operations of the JFB, which is sent by the board to the minister of local government, be tabled in the House.
The MP’s motion comes on the heels of several fires in his West Kingston constituency, including a $30-million disaster at the Pearnel Charles Arcade and the loss of several dwellings in the area leaving over 100 residents homeless between August and September this year.
The motion noted that the JFB was required to deal with nearly 15,000 emergency calls in 2011, 11,390 of which were genuine fires. It also noted that 29 persons died last year, including 13 children, and 2,389 persons were made homeless as a result of fires.
The MP pointed out that the inability of the fire brigade to deal with these fires, due a lack of equipment and personnel, is causing “extreme hardship and suffering for poor Jamaicans”, especially those living in densely populated urban communities like downtown Kingston.
He said that there was a need for emergency funding to improve the capability of the JFB to meet the challenges, as well as a need for the JFB board’s report to be tabled annually in the House to keep Parliament updated on the situation.