$258 million Port Maria Fire Station officially opens
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness (fourth left) and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie (third left), cut the ribbon to officially hand over the Port Maria Fire Station in St Mary on Friday. Joining them (from left), are: Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) Commissioner, Stewart Beckford; Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Managing Director, Omar Sweeney; Member of Parliament for St Mary Western, Robert Montague; Mayor of Port Maria, Councillor Richard Creary; Member of Parliament for St. Mary Central, Dr Morais Guy; and Assistant Commissioner, JFB, Julian Davis-Buckle. Photo: JIS

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The new Port Maria Fire Station in St Mary, built at a cost of $258 million, was officially opened and handed over on Friday, bringing improved fire and emergency services to more than 100,000 Jamaicans.

The brand-new facility, spread over a four-building compound, can accommodate up to 80 firefighters and boasts an administrative block, engine bays, male and female dormitories, a conference room, two fire trucks, and emergency management services. It will serve 48 communities in and around the St Mary capital.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his address at the ceremony, said that “significant investment” has been made in the provision of a “well-built facility that will serve this community for years to come, adequately”.

“We are expecting that with this new facility, the morale of our firefighters will be improved, their capabilities to respond will improve, the relationship between firefighting services and the community will improve, and the entire township/parish capital will feel a renewed sense that Jamaica is paying attention to their needs,” he noted.

The Prime Minister recalled that the previous facility “was a small, antiquated building” which was closed in 2006. After the closure, the fire brigade operated in rented premises at various locations in the Port Maria area.

“Finally, in November of last year, the fire brigade moved into its new, permanent, modern home where we are today,” he pointed out.

The Prime Minister noted that the construction of the new fire station is part of the Government’s strategy of building resilience.

The facility was built under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP), which aims to bolster Jamaica’s resilience against disaster and climate risks and improve the country’s capacity to plan for, reduce and manage the effects of climate change.

For his part, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, said that the construction and handover of the Port Maria Fire Station is “a testament to the commitment and the importance demonstrated by [the Government] in the building of important infrastructure across the country.”

“This is not just a brand new fire station that will serve the people of Port Maria and surrounding communities. It is the latest component of unprecedented infrastructure for social protection and national asset management that the Government is building through the services provided by the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB),” he continued.

The $580 million JFB Area 4 Headquarters in Montego Bay, St James and the $162.6 million Yallahs Fire Station in St Thomas, also built under the DVRP, were handed over last year.

Minister McKenzie said that every fire station in Jamaica now has at least one functioning fire truck, and last year, some 189 recruits joined the organisation.

“This agency continues to be a beacon of reliability and credibility in the eyes of the Jamaican people,” McKenzie said, while imploring citizens to do their part and take greater personal responsibility in achieving a sustainable reduction in fires.

The Port Maria fire Station was completed over three years.

Implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the DVRP is funded by a loan from the World Bank.

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