BREAKING NEWS: Firemen back on the job!

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BREAKING NEWS: Firemen back on the job!
Firemen at a scene. * Photo credit: St. Lucia Fire Service Fire Prevention Dept. page
Firemen at a scene. * Photo credit: St. Lucia Fire Service Fire Prevention Dept. page

Executive members of the St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) have agreed to end the strike action that began on Sept. 1, 2014.

The decision was made during a meeting this afternoon  between Acting Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre; Minister for Legal Affairs, Home Affairs and National Security, Victor Philip La Corbiniere; and Minister for the Public Service, Dr. James Fletcher, and seven members of the SLFSA led by its chairman, Shane Felix.

Spokesperson for the SLFSA Damien Jn Baptiste told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that they have agreed to return to work as of 5 p.m. today after coming to a resolution with government.

Jn Baptiste told SNO that the details of the meeting will be released tomorrow after meeting with members.

In a written statement released by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) late this afternoon, the meeting “provided an avenue for discussion and agreement on the way forward, which included the involvement of the Saint Lucia Fire Service Association in the process which would lead to the development of a Promotions Policy for the Saint Lucia Fire Service”.

Other matters discussed, according to the statement, included the “provision of access to the office of the Association at the Headquarters, a review of the terms and conditions for auxiliary fire fighters and the activation of an Honorarium Committee to duly recognize staff who are performing duties above their ranks”.

The statement added: “Clarification was also provided on the secondment of the Chief Fire Officer and the announcement of a review of the operations and management of the Saint Lucia Fire Service by a team of British experts. The meeting also agreed that the Ministries of the Public Service and Home Affairs and the Saint Lucia Fire Service shall develop a mechanism to respond to the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. In the end, there was an agreement that members would resume normal duties as of 5:00pm today. Dialogue is expected to continue to address some of the issues which have been outstanding for many years.”

The SLFSA initiated strike action on September 1. Since then, they’ve had several meetings to discuss their issues and bring it to the attention of government, demanding that they are resolved.

The SLFSA had requested that disciplinary action be taken against Chief Fire Officer Leslie Fontenelle. Prime Minister Anthony has since announced the secondment of the chief fire officer to the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. My fellow St. Lucian's, yesterday was the anniversary of the catastrophe in the USA now remember as 911. First responders including firefighters and police officers lost their lives at attending to the cries and pleading of people trapped and injured in the USA trade towers. Those who survived the disaster and their families have never been the same.

    Their physical health are deteriorating from exposure of chemicals and toxic material in the incident and therefore, though they survived the battle on that day, their quality of health and longevity of life have been shorten. The grotesque scenes, the trauma and mental anguish have etched volumes in their psyche that can never be eased or soothed. The families of those fire fighters who died and those who survived are all suffering today. No amount of money paid for wages or vacation earned or any other form of remuneration can suffice for the service of those firefighters or their estate.

    Firefighters pray:

    When I am called to duty, God,
    wherever flames may rage,
    give me strength to save a life,
    whatever be its age.
    Help me embrace a little child
    before it is too late,
    or save an older person from
    the horror of that fate.
    Enable me to be alert,
    and hear the weakest shout,
    quickly and efficiently
    to put the fire out.
    I want to fill my calling,
    to give the best in me,
    to guard my friend and neighbor,
    and protect his property.
    And if according to Your will
    I must answer death's call,
    bless with your protecting hand,
    my family one and all.

    What kind of motivation empowers a man to place his or her life in harms way when his fellow man is in distress. What can you give as remuneration for the life or the mental wellness of a firefighter?

    Firemen and women of the St. Lucia Fire Service stands distressed and aggrieved after years of pleading to you St. Lucians for assistance and resolution of their plights. Even now at their moment of greatest need, few of you are prepared to secours their plight. Many now say "just go back to work, you guys don't think of country first". On the contrary it's been patriotism, love of people and country that have kept firefighters even in the face of woeful manmade and natural disasters. ARE YOU PREPARED TO HAVE DEMOTIVATED AND STRESSED FIREFIGHTERS CARE FOR YOU AT YOUR WEAKEST AND MOST VENERABLE MOMENTS? Be careful what you ask for!

    At our moment of distress and mortal vulnerability hope springs to life when we can call on 911. Have you taken a moment to consider those firefighters who come to your aid when others flee or standby helplessly. They are from planet st. Lucia, human and victims of the same cares that preoccupy your minds. What about their mental well being? Who listens to their incessant cries for help? Who assures them that tomorrow will be a better day? Who says there is hope? Who encourages the stressed, over worked and depressed? Who opens a window for air for the chocking and light of day for those who have languished under tyranny.

    This is your moment St. Lucia; the wound you soothe today will enable be the hands that saves you from the horror of your fate. Don't be silent!

    Watchtower

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  2. The fire officers have shown us how the be resolute. They stood against the injustices of management, stood against stupid and arrogant politicians and their crew of singers for suppers
    Hope we take a page from them. I must also take the opportunity to thank acting PM Pierre for his leadership and understanding. Thank you Sir.
    Pierre for PM

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  3. Sorry Kenny. You have served our country well but I think you have reached the end of your journey.
    PIERRE for PM.

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  4. "Boog Beff" your name says it all. That's what you are. Guess you couldn't wait to show your ignorance.
    In the Fire Service there are breathing apparatus sets. Stupid, that's why there are rear cases of smoke inhalation.
    I must take this opportunity to say how proud I am of the fire fighters. Surely, they have accomplished much. They have set an example to all St. Lucians by standing against injustice and what they believe is right as afforded to them under the constitution.
    My sincere hope is that the other marginalized groups of workers both in the private and public sectors muster the courage to do the same.

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  5. These bums have finally decided to go to work. I hope they don't get paid their full salary for endangering the lives of the citizens of this country. But hey it's the public service,the same people who you were so willingly allow to die,have to pay your salary with their tax dollars.
    If there was sexual harassment going on, what was stopping these women from filing a lawsuit against the guilty party? The same course of action should be taken by those who claimed they were denied promotions.The public service appears to be a safe haven for those you cant hack it in the private sector.

    If things were sooo bad why not resign.But wait where would I make this salary and have so much down time. You guessed it the public service.Can't remember the last time any of you were treated for smoke inhalation after responding to a blaze. You took a firefighters oath and didn't exhaust all avenues of negotiation before going on strike.Shame on you sorry lot of freeloaders masquerading as freedom fighters.

    A sincere thank you to the firefighters who stayed on the job and rose above and beyond the call of duty

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    • Because of people like you St.Lucia would never develop the way it's suppose to, the laws and regulations followed, respect given and shown to all and be a better place where there is equal opportunity for all. When someone is fighting for what's right we must learn to stand behind them for the benefit of all not just them because if we don't it will develop to a level that will affect all including our future generation and that's what that has been happening. When are we going to put a stop to things if everybody gets on like this. Do you know that this type of shit has been going on for years with in the fire department and maybe other work place, do you know the amount of women who have been violated because of this. Man it shames me to see how stupid most St.Lucians have become and the shit the have learned to accept over the years and I wonder when will it ever stop. There are laws for all and yet still some get away with shit because of who they are, who they know and how much money they have. So please try to stop your foolish thinking and try to be one of the few who decides to take a stand and make a change or else we'll have a St.Lucia which will soon be a place none of us would want to live in.

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  6. Isaac your solidarity session was short lived. Get back to the negotiating table ASAP. Stop holding the people's business as a bargaining chip.

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    • Why don't you negotiate ways of giving back to make the country better while you are at it. Because if I can recall it wasn't the civil servants that caused the country to be in this shit so why should they be the only ones to suffer for it to get better. Try and find ways for your sorry ass to help to instead of writing your silly comments.

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  7. What is wrong with sum of this comments???if u dont hv something good to say then shut up!!!I agree with the firemen...

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  8. Why insist on disciplinary action against the chief? Shane is the one to be disciplined because he did admit that there was a file full of matters against him which looked like he has been working in the fire service for 50 years. And the fire men are supporting him in his wrong doing. I hope they are asking him what happened to their money contributed to the association on a monthly basis. Is there something he is hiding that's why he has refused to produce the financial report. Firemen think about this. Your chairman has not been able to show his accountability and you are supporting him.

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  9. Alot of uall that don't support the firemen support sexual harassment at the work place. Wonder if it was uall sisters trust me uall would b in favor of the firemen. If sacrifices were not made an lives wasn't lost slavery would still b around. We got to stand for wat we believe

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    • Really you want to compare slavery to the fire service? There is a way to deal with issues, women need to make complaints in writing and stop being afraid to stand up against their harasser. Stop cowering for theses nasty men and put them in their place. They are predictors and tackle people they know will remain quiet. The public service should develop a sexual harassment policy to minimize this in the entire public service because this happens throughout the government service. In this day and age negotiation, and conflict resolution are important. Not providing an essential service where health. Is concerned is massa thinking. Some people say there is a need a revolution, and sometimes people must die, are you saying the fire service must improve on the blood of the innocent?

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  10. Some really senseless comments... do we even think before posting comments? Someone even suggested sending all the firemen home... interesting the mentality of some of us! I know it is enshrined in law that industrial action can be taken by unions and their constituents from time to time if they feel their grievances are not being addressed. Isn't that what the firemen did? Lucians, think! Oh and by the way the inconveniencies experienced by the public is all part of the strategy of trying to come up with some consensus on the issues. Thank God they have been reached and we could now move forward!

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  11. FUSSY .... WELL SAID!! I am glad the firemen were heard. Lucians in the work force should stop being afraid and stand together.

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  12. Today Mr. Shane Felix will go down in history as the person who was able to stand up against injustice and wrong practices etc. We on the outside do admire this man to the point where we despise him. It is only because we do not have the courage and what it takes to believe in something and openly appose the government on this. We wish we could have done the same however we are too frightened, coward, scared etc etc about the repercussions, the victimization that will follow. Also it is not in our culture for people of (no name) to speak openly and get open support from their work colleagues and by extension their country men.
    Shane Felix and your colleagues, I salute you three folds.

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  13. The firemen r right....no body listened to them years ago when they were crying and complaining...when u have guys like Ian Downes high ranking official fighting down young potential recruits just bcuz he doesnt like relatives of the individual or playing on young female recruits for promotion in xchange for sex.....these guys knew what they were striking 4. whichever government needs to realise citizens elected them to serve the public....nd not their own selves to BOSS, bully or illtreat any civil servant...firemen r RIGHT. make the government officials listen...nxt in line will b teachers, nurses, policemen....the UGLY TRUTH NEEDED TO B MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC

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  14. That's what kenny could not do, have a sit down with the guys met just full of BS and arrogant. Bravo PJP(PIP)

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  15. Please st lucian the ignorant ones posting about getting firemrn from overseas stop cus it looks like u dint read.news else weh no other fireman wud tolerate this nonsense going on so think before yall post crap on this please

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  16. Is'nt it high time we stop rewarding mal practice, and corruption. By now most of us have heard the allegations made against the chief fire officer and have read of his abusive and illegal practices as head of the fire service, yet the prime minister insists on keeping this misfit in the employ of our country. To all those St.Lucians who want to put pressure on the F.S.A members. Take a good look at the situation. what is it that Mr. Fontinelle have over the heads of the Prime Minister,The Minister of National security and the members of P.S.C, is this a Lodge thing or is it normal for wrong-doings to be reward for people in high places. If Mr. Fontinelle is not sent packing it will leave a bitter taste in my mouth, and that of quite a few voters. Wrong is wrong and will never be right and should never be rewarded.

    G.J

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  17. Is that what we are teaching the young in society. It's my way or no way at all. To disregard authority. Then all government departments when you don't want a certain head of department you strike. And we are wondering why then youths of this society are turning out the way they are what examples are the adults showing them.

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    • Oh please there is something call standing up for yourself. There is also something called abuse of authority to the youth are being taught not to abuse power and authority when you are given it as well as to stand up for oneself under oppression.Princess if the boss was petting youre cat without permission what would you do smile and gigle. How about if he asked you for a polish every now and then ?

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  18. You know, it's only when the day comes, will many of you see how destructive your behaviours have been to the point that NO ONE, NO HELP from outside will come our way, due to your selfishness, your African BARBARISM and all manner of defective genes that align your bodies.

    Who I'm I, to take your hand and make you realize that your actions TODAY, will determine your FUTURE tomorrow and how the REST OF THE WORLD VIEWS YOU.

    I hope when the POUND of FLESH will be require of YOU, that you DO NOT POINT FINGERS AT THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY, PAST OR FUTURE, BUT YOURSELVES.
    For you WERE AND ARE AN OBDURATE PEOPLE PUT IN CHARGE IN KEY POSITIONS IN THE ISLAND.

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  19. Give them what they want? What do they want? The hief has already been removed. What next? And does the PM have the authority to give them what they want? Is he their boss or employer? Can he arbitrarily circumvent the rules to give them what they want? How about they follow due process instead of holding the political directorate to ransom and by extension, the whole country? That's just blackmail!

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    • Blackmail my ass! What happened in the meeting today that those dumb ass politicians could not have done before this strike action took place. I despise politicians for their endless procrastination, lack of will power, and the fact that they don't seem to realize that they are dealing with a more intelligent, educated, smarter population. Let them think that they can still offer us chicken and rum during an election year and get away with it!

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      • They caved in because the strike was having a negative effect. The longer it lasted the more unpopular it became. The dead are turning in their graves.

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  20. Really? Get firemen from over seas? Its just like snapping a finger right... alot of us don't kno the struggles and the exposure to diseases and worse of all sexual harassment at the work place....its time st lucians stand up for themselves and whats right. We are quick to judge when we not in the situation,but if our gf/wives sisters neices and female relatives get touched and sexually harassed we would hit the roof.but the fire women have to endure same and ridicule by persons abusing their power...Smh

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