The post of Chief Fire Officer was deleted

Dear Editor,

SN’s very thoughtful Editorial of Friday June 8, 2018 titled ‘Improved Facilities for Fire Service’ touched an old (raw) nerve; for it’s a decade or more since I have attempted to bring attention to the indifference with which such a critical service as the Guyana Fire Service is treated.

A particular instance which was highlighted was the last administration’s deletion of the post of Chief Fire Officer, completely unnoticed by the then diligent Opposition; and continued to be condoned in the Estimates presented to the National Assembly over the last three years. Even the Auditor General could have enquired how logical it is to have Deputy to a non-existent Chief, even in 2018!

By now the officers concerned must be too busy fighting fires (albeit with inadequate supplies) to make any effective representation about this patent organisational deficiency.

It would be interesting to learn whether any acting allowances are applied in this unforgivable circumstance that is assuming that there are other consequential acting appointment.

In the meantime the particular incumbent and team must worry about the not unreasonable possibility of an explosive emergency in the Stabroek neighbourhood; and about the chance of a fire in such a fuelled environment, particularly in which stands Parliament Building, and sit its decision-making tenants, seemingly indifferent to the danger of the large number of gasoline containers nonchalantly mis-arranged around them – a vision of Public Insecurity.

As a matter of passing interest the position of Deputy Fire Chief is at the same level as that of Assistant Police Commissioner – Grade 12, but who, from a distance must carry more urgent and frequent responsibility for saving property and lives, as if he were in fact the Fire Chief.

En passant in researching these 2018 Estimates one comes across the following comparabilities, if not curiosities (after three years).

There is more, but the obvious question must presumably have been answered orally in the Assembly, as there appears to be no explicit explanation for this formulation to be maintained three years in a row.
Pardon my being so inquisitive.

Yours faithfully,
E.B. John

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