Western News

Hanover Fire Department calls for fire station in Hopewell

Observer writer

Thursday, April 25, 2019

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HOPEWELL, Hanover - Deputy superintendent in charge of the Hanover division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Raymond Desouza, says a recommendation has been made for a fire station to be established in town of Hopewell, located in the eastern section of the parish.

Addressing a recent regular monthly meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation, Desouza disclosed that the request was made in February at a meeting of all divisional heads across the island with the newly-installed commissioner, attorney Stewart Beckford.

At that meeting, requests were also made for fire stations in Bethel Town, Westmoreland and Papine in St Andrew, the Jamaica Observer West was told.

The recommendations were made under the brigade's fire cover review, which speaks to the layout of fire stations and the need for additional stations.

“And, I would have advised the commissioner that we are probably a relative small parish, but there are lots of developments taking place in Hanover, and so a fire station for Hopewell was placed on the list and with other areas such as Bethel Town in Westmoreland, a new fire station for Papine and so forth,” Desouza explained.

Desouza said the recommendations are now in the hands of the board of the fire brigade then it will be placed in the hands of the minister of local government, Desmond McKenzie to be signed off on.

Desouza urged the Hanover Municipal Corporation to have discussions with the minister on the matter.

“So, it is now with the board. So, it is outside of us as public servants. So, I want you to start to have the discussion with the minister, because after it leaves the board it will go into his hands for him to make the recommendation and the signing off,” Desouza explained.

“I hear the minister spoke that he is going to place some attention and look at strategic areas to build some new fire stations. And, I don't want us [Hanover] to get left out. So, I ask the council (municipal corporation) to follow up on that.”

However, a few days later, McKenzie told reporters in Hanover that he was unaware of such a request. He added that in order for such a request to be acted upon, a policy decision must be taken and funding identified.

“Let us put it this way. Any request can be made, but for that decision to be made, it has to be a policy decision and the question of funding and all of that has to be first identified. So, I am not prepared to comment, only to say that I am not aware of that [the request] and that is not a decision that is being considered because I have not seen any report or any request so far, and that would have to come out of the Jamaica Fire Brigade by virtue of their assessment of the needs,” McKenzie explained.

Hopewell, located 15 kilometers west of the resort city of Montego Bay, is a fast developing town.

Last year, a request was also made for a police post to be established there.

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