Despite the recent announcement made by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony on the secondment of Chief Fire Officer Leslie Fontenelle to the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), the St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) said a majority of its members have chosen to remain on strike, until certain details are clarified.
SLFSA President Shane Felix told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today that a meeting was held yesterday with members to discuss the prime minister’s response to the issue, where a unanimous decision was made to continue the strike action.
Felix said the SLFSA is currently preparing a formal correspondence to be dispatched to the prime minister, which is basically requesting dialogue with him.
He said once this request is granted, the SLFSA executive will make representation on behalf of its members.
“We don’t know what the conditions are, so before members go back to work they want to know what conditions they are going to be working under,” he told this publication.
While he was reluctant to disclose some of the clarifications for which the SLFSA is seeking, Felix said it has to do mainly with having a clear understanding of Fontenelle’s secondment, among other serious issues.
The SLFSA met with Minister of National Security Victor La Corbiniere last Friday where La Corbiniere put forward proposals to settle the issue. One of those proposals was to have the ministry assist the SLFSA with electing a new executive.
The minister had recognised the association as a bona fide organisation that represents the rights of firefighters. Felix has lauded the minister and his ministry for seeking legal advise on the legality of the association and coming forward to assist.
Meanwhile, Felix had said members believe that the PSC has not dealt sufficiently with the matter and is awaiting their response on disciplinary action to be taken against senior fire officers.
“Whatever it is they have to do, members want to know, just as junior colleagues have been disciplined by the PSC, whether suspended or dismissed, we would like to see the PSC do the same with those senior officers who have been found wanting by the COI,” he stated.
Felix have stressed that in all the correspondence between the SLFSA and the PSC, it was noted that the association is seeking to have persons disciplined for the allegations confirmed about and not just merely have the recommendations from the COI implemented.
The SLFSA will meet again this afternoon with its members at the Civil Service Association (CSA) Centre in Sans Souci, Castries.