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PM Drew says human resource of SKNFRS needs restructuring; points at managerial issues

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by Eulana Weekes

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Prime Minister Hon. Dr Terrance Drew refutes claims that the human resource capacity of the St. Kitts-Nevis Fire and Rescue Services is too low. He also purported that the management of the organization is a problem.

“So right now, we are in the process of doing an assessment and restructuring the human resource. We don’t lack bodies. We have a Fire Service that is oversubscribed, but the way it is managed, it’s a serious problem, and therefore, we are bringing that structure back into order.

“We met an Acting Chief; we are working now to have a permanent Chief so that we can bring proper leadership to the organization, which would result in [us] being able to respond.

According to the Prime Minister,  the competence of the fire officers is of no concern to the Ministry, but there is a need for restructuring, once the analysis of the Fire Department is completed.

I’ve asked the [Permanent Secretary] to do an analysis of the Fire Services. We met a Fire Services that is in shambles – shambles structurally. They are good. There are good firemen there, and I know that they can respond to anything, so I am not really too concerned that they can respond. What has happened is that the structure of the Fire Service though and how it is managed or how it was managed left a lot to be desired. “Why?” There are people becoming firemen and women without doing exams. No structure in how you advance, and these are people if you give them an exam, they might pass.”

The requirement for entry into the Fire Services includes a written examination and an interview process; shortly after employment, officers undergo a medical examination and, later on, receive a physical or fitness examination.

The High Command of the Fire Services should include a Chief Fire Officer, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Divisional Fire Officer and Fire Station Officer. At present, there are only two gazetted officers in the SKNFRS, Acting Chief Fire Officer Garfield Hodge and Divisional Fire Officer Mavis Archibald.

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