UPDATE: Firefighters continue sick-out today

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UPDATE: Firefighters continue sick-out today
Fire Service members. * File photo
Fire Service members. * File photo

A group of about 60 firefighters have decided to continue industrial action that started yesterday in light of the government’s failure to act upon recommendations from a Commission of Inquiry (COI) and to have other matters affecting them resolved.

Spokesperson for the group Damien Jn Baptiste told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today, September 2, that the protest will continue until government step forward and seek to have their many issues resolved.

He said firefighters are serious about taking the protest to another level.

The fireman told SNO that while no meeting will be held today, the firefighters have planned a sick-out for the entire day.

Asked whether he has made any contact with the management of the Fire Service, Jn Baptiste said no, but explained that the officials are aware of their grievances.

Unless contact is made with these firefighters, Jn Baptiste said they will continue to stay away from work.

The group of firefighters met yesterday at the Mon Repos Multi Purpose Centre where they deliberated on the issues affecting membership of the Fire Service Association and the department. In the end, members agreed that the issues have been allowed to fester for too long by the authorities.

According to a post on the Saint Lucia Fire Service Association’s Facebook page yesterday: “A petition was signed by everyone present and a correspondence written and addressed to the chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), informing him that fire personnel have agreed to immediately withdraw their services (stay home) ‘until we are positively engaged in action aimed at speedily resolving the existing issues that continue to plague the Fire department.’ The letter was hand delivered to the PSC by a contingent of persons who attended the gathering. This is therefore a call to all members to stay home until the authorities are willing to engage us in resolving our long outstanding issues. If we stand divided, we will all fall united.”

Deputy Fire Chief Lambert Charles told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) yesterday that the sick-out has affected operations at both the Dennery and Vieux Fort fire stations. However, the fire official did not confirm or deny that it was a protest.

Charles had said that information gathered suggest that the firefighters are seeking an audience with government and not the management of the Fire Service.

“I couldn’t say how it will result if that is what they want,” he stated.

He also pointed out that while some firefighters reported that they attended a meeting yesterday, permission was not granted in that regard.

During a similar protest in June, which lasted for one weekend, the Fire Service had plans to fill the gap with a team from St .Vincent and the Grenadines, in case of further industrial action.

The firefighters have said they are fed up with the management of the Fire Department and are concerned that the recommendations of the COI into the Fire Service have not been implemented.

SNO was unable to reach Charles for another comment, as well as the permanent secretary in the public service ministry.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. All this and instead of fixing the problems, they call Shane Felix to the Public Service Commission to answer to disciplinary charges while the real criminals in the Fire Service Dept are left to go scotch free.

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  2. Replace the fire chief; it's that simple.
    When they had the Guyanese Fire Chief (McPherson), things were much better; bring in a St.Lucian and it's ro-ro everyday.

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  3. It's the chief and his deputy that is causing all these problems. These guys need to be sent on a long vacation. WITHOUT PAY! They are both misfits.

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  4. It's sad that the fire service has reached this stage. The firemen not asking for an increase in pay!!! They all want measures put in place that can help provide a better service for the public. Apparently what's going on is a joke to management of the fire service, because there is a training going on in vfort, which has not been postponed to redeploy men. The bigger bosses all relaxing at their homes sleeping in bed at night while stations closed, and they have no cancelled leave. But they want to take my tax money to fly ppl here to work. Mind you, everyone that comes from over seas will get new equipment to work with, equipment that they never have in the first place to issue to the poor guys, not one of the problems so far can be fixed in the fire service. The public fail to realize the ppl government and fire service management and really putting at risk is us. Their moves are always send the poor guys who come to work to be at the precious air ports. Like the average resident don't need support to

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  5. I think this cancer has reached epidemic proportions. The Chakadan investigation, IMPACS Report, Fire Service COI, Amount of Offenders on Remand and Detiorating Court House Facilities, Forensic Lab Issues stc has not been attended to.

    All he has done is promised action. How come one person hold the country to such ransom? When will he be called upon to show slate?

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  6. AA...i doh read the whole thing buh it look like a whole set of firemen sick! wee mama! i hope is not ebola! cuz is chikungunya dat in style

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  7. I was told that there are no firemen at the airports and admin is telling SLASPA that is not the case because if the airlines know they don't have coverage they will not land here. Don't worry it is only a matter of time before they find out what is really going on.......

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  8. Yeah I agree with the firemen. Stand for your rights. How can you work in a situation like that. Too much bureaucracy, politics and lodge. This government is a real disgrace. Look at how fat they getting, snacking all the time with taxpayers money when we civil servants cannot even get a decent snack at a workshop. There is always no money.

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  9. My advice for the Ministers of government, pray every day that your homes are safe (fire proof)because you have push the firemen to the limit. Mr do your work, think of the country and not yourself, come on man, STUPID!

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  10. Kenny teaching you all who is boss, during UWP fire truck hoses were cut in Castries, you all rejoice when Kenny and SLP come into office. Now he bring in guys from SVG to do you all work. I believe that you all should stand up to Kenny and the rest and show them you all mean business. - See more at: https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/breaking-news-firefighters-take-industrial-action/#sthash.5XsW6wYM.dpuf

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  11. St Lucians you guys don't see what the PM pass into legislation that people from anywhere in the Caribbean can work here, so when you guys go on strike he will just higher venci to work here, like he did the last time. Stand your grounds don't allow no other person to work while you on strike. Any foreigner that come here bust their ASS!!!

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  12. I have never taken the opportunity to comment on this blog or any other before, but I would normally read the comments of others. However, today I have to make an exception, and refer to an earlier statement made by someone who represents themselves as "CUT", and say are we as individuals sunk so low that we have become blinded to a level where we cannot even think straight, and speak like fools. I have to also say further that the four times I have voted in my lifetime has always been for the SLP; but today unfortunately when I read such comments, when persons cannot identify right from wrong, and qualify injustice as good; and further cannot empathize with plight of others, and would comprise to this extent to formulate such biases, it makes me wonder if our people have gone crazy and whether ignorance is the order of the day; to believe that I am in alliance with such persons and that the shed sentiments are regrettable. Having perused the report and kept abreast with this issue, I am of the view that the report is in sync with the expressed concerns of the firemen. According to the inquiry, it reinforces that the status quo should be reviewed. The apparent delay hints at a lack of political will and testicular fortitude on the part of the government to do what is right.

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  13. In as much as the FIREMEN continue to say; They have isuues to be resolved< at the end of the day they do not have any recourse with the Mnaagemrnt of the Fire Service , but with the Minister responsible. Please Mr Minister, please, for PEACE sake and the SAFETY of STL, make the decisions and get some form of stability in this country. This is an essential service, because for too long, I am hearing the same cry, "THERE ARE MATTERS/ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED IN THE FIRE SERVICE" do something, get solutions, make the difference. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!! It might not be the what the majority wants but please do the right thing.

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    • Sooooo.... according to you, you are more proud to be UWP than to be St. Lucian. So you don't care that things are going bad so long as you get to boast that they aren't going bad under the part you support. You love your UWP so much that you can celebrate poor conditions in the country because it reinforces your view that SLP is bad and UWP is good. Sigh...and herein lies the source of ALL our problems...thinking like this.

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  14. Kenny teaching you all who is boss, during UWP fire truck hoses were cut in Castries, you all rejoice when Kenny and SLP come into office. Now he bring in guys from SVG to do you all work. I believe that you all should stand up to Kenny and the rest and show them you all mean business.

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  15. Emergency officers withdrawing their service....who are u affecting Govt or the people whom you took an oath to serve, all that because the fire chief tell shane look for another to house the association office, and rightly so. The commissioner of police should do the same but then there is a difference the technique is simple.....keep the president of the association happy and close to you and then you can rule the members.....you think firemen have problems....police have more....hmmmmm no wonder they help get rid of .....

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  16. The Government's Commission Of Inguiry (COI) a joke. I know of one COI created to settle a land dispute over the two lane highway near the vigie round- about between a private citizen and the government has been ongoing for years and recommendations from the COI still has not been submited because the Chairman is appointed by the Government to sit in the House of Asembly. Talk about ccnflict of interests and waste of tax payers money when the Chairman does not execute his duties as he should!

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  17. "news surfaced that the Fire Service had fire officials from St .Vincent and the Grenadines as a backup in case of further industrial action." wow no comments...adequate consideration for back up... no consideration for the poor fire officers... Who will be paying for the services from the fire officials from st Vincent? is it my tax money?

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  18. A move long overdue........now the river will break it's banks and take a new course and direction. This should serve as a wake up call for all fellow St Lucians...It will be too late when shit hits the fan and our children grow up without a voice. So many solutions on how to resolve our current issues in the country but apparently you have to be voted in to have a voice and make decisions that affect all of us at the end of the day.

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  19. come on sure they took an oath but they need to leave too and by the way the government did make agreement labor for money that's the service we as citizen get.
    commitment these employees do their best to make hearts keep beating.

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  20. why spend so much money to carry out the commission of inquiry and fo the cost it seemss to be nothing for the government. These firefighters gave up their life to try and save other persons lives and the gov't is paying no attention to them. If it was me I would start looking elsewhere, in another country for a job. It feel like the firefighters are being ignored by the gov't, neither are they being respected or cared for in their own country by those above them and in authority.

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  21. I am very curious to know why the recommendations of the commission of inquiry is taking so long to be addressed? I also want to know why permission for them to hold a meeting was denied.This is not the democracy we preach.Its time for that foolishness to stop.Let the axe fall where it should.

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