Prime Minister's Press Secretary
Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony on
Tuesday evening (October 10, 2006) met with representatives of the Fire Services
Welfare Association (FSWA), in a bid to bring to an end to industrial action by
The Prime Minister, who was acting on behalf of his Cabinet colleagues, advised
the representatives of the FSWA that the Government of Saint Lucia had agreed to
a recommendation by the Negotiating Team to pay fire officers $450 per month,
starting September 1, for the excess hours worked by their members.
It was also agreed that the system of excess working hours will be eliminated,
once the Fire Service is brought up to its full strength in the next two years.
However, the rate of payment and the number of excess hours will be gradually
reduced concomitantly with the increase in the strength of the Fire Service over
the two-year period.
The Prime Minister also advised the representatives of the fire officers that he
had instructed the Ministry of Home Affairs to seek quotes from the Private
Sector to replace the roof of the building housing the Central Fire Station on
Jeremie Street in Castries.
He advised, however, that the removal of the roof is a delicate matter, as it
must be handled by qualified and experiences personnel.
Further, he said, arrangements will have to be made to relocate Fire Tenders and
Fire Officers, as well as Police personnel currently utilising the building.
It was agreed at the meeting with the Prime Minister that the Association will
work closely with the Minister and the Fire Chief to put into effect a plan of
action to facilitate the replacement of the roof.
The Prime Minister expressed his regret that the Association did not bring their
grievances directly to the Minister, or to himself, before taking industrial
The Prime Minister also indicated that it will be necessary to review the
arrangements for providing fire personnel to the islandís airports, as the
country cannot afford the consequences of the disruption of travel by Saint
Lucians and visitors to the island.
Prime Minister Anthony urged the association to encourage their members to
return to work, even if some doctors had given Fire Officers up to nine or ten
days sick leave.
Fire Chief Leslie Fontinelle also this morning issued a call, through the media,
for the fire officers who are still out to return to work, as the outstanding
matters had been addressed by the Prime Minister and settled with the
representatives of the Association during last nightís meeting.