Beckford is new fire chief

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 30, 2018

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THE Jamaica Fire Brigade has a new commissioner. He is attorney-at-law Stewart Beckford.

The new commissioner, who has served the brigade for over 28 years, takes over from the former commissioner Raymond A Spencer, who retired earlier this year after serving as commissioner from July 1, 2017.

In the past, Beckford served as staff officer of the brigade for a number of years before acting as commissioner after the retirement of Spencer. Approximately two months ago, Deputy Commissioner Warren Malcolm took over the acting post from Beckford who acted for approximately five months. However, on Friday in St James, Beckford's appointment as the head of the 147-year-old organisation was announced.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, in making the congratulatory announcement of Beckford's appointment, noted that in his opinion, the new commissioner commands the respect and support of the men and women of the brigade.

“I want to start my comments this afternoon by first of all extending my own personal congratulations to the new commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, someone with over some 28 years of service to the brigade, and someone who I believe commands the respect and the support of the men and women of the Jamaica Fire Brigade,” stated McKenzie.

The minister, who also thanked the former acting commissioner, said he is looking forward to working with Commissioner Beckford.

“And, I want to take this opportunity to say, commissioner, that I am looking forward to continue the working relationship that we have started,” stated the minister, who added: “I want to thank those persons — Deputy Commissioner Malcolm and those who gave support during the period of transition.”

McKenzie was addressing a handing over ceremony for a fire boat assigned to St James and two fire trucks, one for Trelawny and the other for Manchester. The function held in Freeport, St James, was also used to officially opened a newly constructed $15-million fire boat station.

The new station, which will give support to the work of the brigade on sea, is expected to house 34 men and women of the brigade. Commissioner Beckford said the station will be open 24 hours per day.

Commissioner Beckford, during his speech also called on Jamaicans to protect and adopt fire hydrants in their communities.

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