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Contact: Julita Peter


Monday,  September 14, 2009The Saint Lucia Fire and Emergency Services (SLFS) is celebrating  its thirty-fifth anniversary throughout September with a slate of activities bringing into sharp focus its important mandate and the invaluable contributions of the fire men and women in  protecting life and property. Although the SLFS has been around for more than thirty-five years, it became a separate entity from the Saint Lucia Police Force in 1974.


The hallmark of the anniversary celebrations were a parade and plaque ceremony on the William Peter Boulevard on Sunday September 13th, where outstanding fire and emergency services personnel were formally recognized.  In attendance were Governor General Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Prime Minister Honourable Stephenson King and other government officials and members of the public. During the ceremony the Governor General unveiled a monument, which has been erected on the William Peter Boulevard in memory of major fires in Castries and the several fire officers who have  served within the SLFS.


Prime Minister Honourable Stephenson King disclosed during the ceremony, that a site had been identified along the Castries Gros-Islet -Highway in the vicinity of Vide Boutielle for the construction of a modern Fire and Emergency Services headquarters. The Jeremie Street headquarters which housed the officers for well over three decades have been deemed unsafe after suffering damages during an earthquake in 2007.


The officers, who are currently on borrowed premises, were quite elated of the news plans in the making for the construction of a permanent home. The Prime Minister said the finishing touches on the architectural design were being done and that construction could commence as early as next year.


The Prime Minister said the contributions of the island’s fire and emergency personnel must be acknowledged, and especially commended their efforts during the deadly blaze at St. Jude Hospital on September 9th


I think we owe them a round of applause for the work they did then. As  a government we extend condolence to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. I must say it certainly could have been worse had the volunteers and fire officers not saved the other lives.”


The Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security which has responsibility for the Fire and Emergency Services Department, has already committed itself to six major initiatives for the SLFS.  Among them a short term attachment for officers to more developed brigades in more developed countries, from which Saint Lucia could emulate some of the more advanced standards and principles, a review of the training programmes to ensure that all fire fighters are trained in emergency medical services, and the creation of a regional fire fighters competition.


Minister for Home Affairs and National Security  Senator Guy Mayers is convinced that the   SLFS must be given the resources that are required to advance its plans and programmes.


“So even while we are at a time of global recession, when the Government must manage its resources more closely and critically, our economization and financial control measures should not be at the expense of the proper maintenance and continuous development ODF, such an essential institution as the SLFS,”  Senator Mayers said.


Chief Fire Officer Leslie Fontenelle says Sunday’s parade was also a statement that there were bigger and better things in store for the St. Lucia Fire and Emergency Services. Fontenelle urged those within the ranks of the service to preserve the noble virtues of commitment and devotion, which has driven the unit over the years.  The 35th anniversary theme is ‘Ensuring the nation’s safety amidst emerging challenges.’

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