MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, says the Jamaica Fire Brigade continues to perform as an elite unit, with workers proudly relishing in their role as first responders.
McKenzie was giving the main address at the Jamaica Fire Brigade’s graduation ceremony for Intake No 24 at the Madge Saunders Conference Centre, Tower Isle, St Mary over the weekend.
There, the Minister said he was very impressed with the professionalism and discipline shown by firefighters in carrying out their duties, noting that they never complain… even when faced with adversity.
“The Jamaica Fire Brigade is an institution that can be considered one of the most disciplined institutions in Jamaica,” McKenzie said. “We continue to see the results of that discipline [day in and day out] and I want to say to the Commissioner (Stewart Beckford) that while we will hear [from time to time] of members of other organisations getting into trouble, I can recall only once in my seven years as Minister of a firefighter doing something [other than doing what his job requires].
“This speaks to the level of discipline that exists in the Jamaica Fire Brigade,” he added.
The Minister implored the new recruits (86 males and 20 females) to maintain the department’s impeccable track record of discipline and not allow themselves to be tainted by anything that would bring dishonour to the organisation.
McKenzie said, from observation, everything indicates that the new graduates were more than up to the task, adding that Jamaica would be richer for what they will bring to the table.
“Do not allow a strong track record of performance of discipline to be spoiled. You have a role to play… not just in putting out fires and saving lives, but also to be role models for the communities that you are from,” the Minister told the graduates.
The training for the recruits lasted 13 weeks. They will be deployed to fire stations across the island.
McKenzie also used the opportunity to express sadness at the death of 25-year-old firefighter, Larenzo Douse, who was killed last week after a vehicle crashed into the back of a fire truck in Ocho Rios, St Ann. The victim was stationed at the Ocho Rios Fire Station.