Once again, we see numerous news reports of fire officials and other stakeholders highlighting serious deficiencies within the fire service. This PNM administration continues to turn a blind eye and pretend our fire service is well equipped and fully operational.
Chief Fire Officer Arnold Bristo has finally admitted that there were no fire appliances at the Santa Cruz Fire station, the nearest station to the home of 98 year old Malcolm Diaz who perished in a fire on Friday.
In the face of overwhelming evidence he was forced to admit that the whole system has failed. From water shortages, to non functioning hydrants,to the slow pace of acquiring and registering vehicles, to the need for training of officers to use modern fire tenders and the lack of other fire fighting equipment in general.
It is clear that Hinds and this PNM administration have severely neglected our TTFS and have not treated its improvement with the urgency required.
CFO Arnold Bristo finally has the fortitude to speak truth to power and lay blame for the shortage of appliances/equipment squarely at the feet of Hinds and the PNM.
With the new Parliamentary year set to open today, we foresee that it will make no tangible impact on the improvement of the TTFS.
Minister Hinds and his PNM gang have shown time and time again that they do not respect the Parliament and the democratic process under which it operates.
Every year the same issues concerning our TTFS are raised in and out of Parliament and Hinds provides his characteristic, nonsensical, uninformative responses time after time. He said particularly late last year that he had “no outstanding and massive requests” from the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service for equipment or vehicles. (Guardian, October 11th, 2022). Only after the deaths of 41-year-old Kemba Morris and her eight-year-old daughter in April did he attempt to take action.
We have raised the issue of appliances and equipment shortages in news releases, press conferences and in Parliament.
Hansard, April 22nd, 2022 – a question asked in Parliament
Hansard, January 23rd, 2023 – a question asked in Parliament
Hansard, April 26th, 2023 – a question asked in Parliament
Hansard, Oct 13th, 2021 – brought up during the Budget debate
Release sent – November 1st, 2022
We will be going to Parliament to discuss the 2024 Budget and the matter will be raised to no avail. Parliament under the PNM cannot fulfil its legislative and oversight roles. The JSC for National Security for example is chaired by a PNM operative, MP Keith Scotland.
Rowley and his band of misfits could sit in Parliament for another 8 years and it would not make any difference.
It is time for COP Harewood-Christopher, Commissioner of Prisons Ramoutar, Chief Immigration officer Gandhi-Andrews, to join with the CFO, speak up and stand up to this careless PNM and voice their concerns for the betterment of TT.
Otherwise the country will judge them as failures.