La Corbiniere accuses firefighters of neglecting their responsibilities

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La Corbiniere accuses firefighters of neglecting their responsibilities
Minister La Corbiniere * File photo
Minister La Corbiniere * File photo

Firefighters who took strike action are being criticised for acting within their own personal interest and failing to uphold their public responsibilities.

National Security Minister Phillip La Corbiniere made this comment on the debut of a new call-in programme last night on Choice Television dubbed “In Touch” and hosted by Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Jadia Jn Pierre-Emmanuel.

La Corbiniere said there has been a shift in approach by the trade union movement, not only here, but throughout the Caribbean where they are able to differentiate and establish the differences between rights and responsibilities. The minister believes that the approach taken by the St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) was the opposite and said the strike is both “sad” and “disappointing.”

He stressed that the fire service is not only responsible for fire services, but emergency ambulance services, making them a key part of the health-response team. Even while this is known to all firefighters and the complications that could be experienced with their absence, they decided to strike, he said. This has caused some setbacks, but with the help of those who chose to stay, they have been managing.

La Corbiniere stated that he met with the executive of the SLFSA before Friday and sought to get their side of the issue. However, according to him, the association position was clear: they were seeking to have the Chief Fire Officer Leslie Fontenelle removed from office. This, he stressed, was not possible and would have required a constitutional change, as was pointed out by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony.

He recalled that when the issues were brought to government’s attention, and even before the prime minister announced plans for a Commission of Inquiry (COI), a committee was formed where deputy permanent secretaries were selected to serve as mediators. However, this turned out to be unsuccessful, especially since the association mounted pressure to have the issues addressed.

In commenting on the breakdown of order and indiscipline within the fire service, the minister said the issue stems from both sides – management and the association. He also pointed to the allegations made by the SLFSA where they accused the fire chief of locking them out of their office, preventing them from holding elections, and meeting with the Government Negotiating Team GNT to conduct wage talks.

Callers of the programme had mixed views on the issue, while some agree with the move taken by the SLFSA for strike action; others believed that they are out to shut down critical services in the country.

One caller also blamed government for the issue at hand, stating that they have a “reactive” rather than a “proactive” approach to certain situations. The caller believed that the government allowed the issues to fester for too long and has caused it to escalate to a point where they have no control over it.

Another caller however dismissed those comments and said that the firefighters on strike are basically thinking about themselves and even suggested that the government fire those on strike. The caller believed that the firefighters have a responsibility to the country, and regardless of their situation, they should not have taken such an approach.

Rather, the caller said the SLFSA could have resolved the issues they are faced with amicably and in a way that will not produce difficulties to essential services.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. All of a sudden the "National Security Minister finds himself on a talk show speaking on the fire service? Where was mate when fellas allegedly killing each other left right and centre? No one word has been spoken about that. All of a sudden he on tv trying to deprive the firemen and women of their right to take action to get their long outstanding grievances sorted out? Di missai sorti la! Most dormant minister ever!

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  2. is as arrogant as they get!!!! I guess he learnt it well from his leader. As for the leader he is in England enjoying himself. He couldn't care less about the firefighters on strike. Now we should ask the question who really cares about the country - The firefighters fighting for their rights or the leader drinking in England? You tell me...

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  3. Once when i was a teenager i thought all ministers should have degrees. I supported and campaigned so hard for Kenny and his crew in 97. OMG how wrong was I. Its ashame but King, Guy and co. made better decisions. You mean dat is the guy Kenny chose to secure our country? Thank god am no longer a party hack, I went to university overseas and now my eyes are open. Waste of tax payers money and even worst yet Kenny treats us like we are fools. He gone to England to get per diem. Our laws suck, Firemen can strike and Chief Fire Officer cannot be fired. The PM is a lawyer with all those ridiculous laws. SMFH

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  4. La Cob don't give a rats tutu what we talk about,all the old geezer care about is the lining of his pockets. Soon my boy your pocket will have a hole in the center,you one time trick pony.

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  5. This minister is surely a waste of tax payers money. I wonder how long that the PM will tolerate this man as he has become a burden on the tax payers in this country

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  6. Minister La Corbiniere now you are going to talk after all that has happen and you remind silent, now that the firefighters has taken steps you come out from your comfort zone in your air condition office saying the firefighters are neglecting their responsibilities, what about your responsibilities as Minister of Home Affairs. You should be sent home.

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  7. aa La Cob shut up no one know whether or not your still the minister of Home affairs. the pot calling the kettle black. one thing i must day Mr. Mayers did a way better job then you.

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  8. The apple didn't fall far from the tree. Well La Cobs, the fire fighters learn how to neglect their responsibilities because they see you do it every day. Ur entire ministry is a joke the buck should stop with you. Pot stop calling kettle black.

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  9. ay ay Mr Minister you are alive and functional?? Thouhgt you abandoned your post or in your own words "neglected your responsibilities"..but you are well trained by your leader....Firemen on strike are to be blamed...what about you addressing the problem...after so long????YWe should be seeing your resignation..you are a total failure. Mr. PM create a position for Mr. Lacombiniere!!! as usual...

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  10. who is paying for that program is it choice or the SLP .Elections round the corner watch out Lucians. They should demand La Corbiniere go also

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  11. This is one minister who is clearly unfit for the job.what a waste of tax payers money.The man has not made an impression since his time in office.Typical example that education without knowledge leaves you just as dumb!!!

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  12. Who cracked the National Security Minister shell to let him out. Seems like he had abandoned his post. On the other side I agree with the firemen, if they complains were falling on death ears, they had to take the necessary actions that someone would realize that the problem is of grave concern.

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