Fire Service to identify critical gaps to advance improvements – Min. Benn

The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) is expected to identify 10 critical gaps in its operations to foster improvements to match Guyana’s rapid economic transformation.

This was disclosed by Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn on Monday at the opening of the Guyana Fire Service Senior Officers’ Conference themed, Enhancing and modernising the Guyana Fire Service through training, retooling, and public education.

Minister Benn explained that developmental projects including the Wales Gas to Energy Project are set to come onstream, hence the need for the fire service to be well prepared for those developments.

“We should not be disappointed where we are now in terms of certain issues, in terms of the organisation or the totality of the nation’s development. What we have to do, as I keep saying, is to identify gaps, identify the critical to-do things, to-do lists, identify the most 10 iterated issues which we have to work at to have improvement,” he asserted.

To further advance the fire service, he pointed out that the agency must learn and exchange experiences and knowledge from its counterparts in various countries such as Canada.

“We have to go to Boa Vista to engage with the fire service persons there. They’re waiting on us to come to see their equipment, their methods, and what we could learn from each other. We have to do this just now and we also have to go to Trinidad and set up engagements with them … I did have a meeting during the visit in Canada with two sets of fire services, they are also willing to work with us,” Minister Benn highlighted. He urged the agency to take advantage of training opportunities from these partnerships in an effort to further elevate the service.
“As we go forward, we recognise where we are, we recognise the improvements which have to be made and we recognise that we could reach the optimum level of our professional training,” the home affairs minister posited.

The minister also expressed concern with the number of fires that are maliciously set on private and public properties, citing the need for public awareness of the effects of such acts.

Meanwhile, Chief Fire Officer (ag) Gregory Wickham revealed that over 200 subordinate officers of the fire service benefitted from management and training through the Guyana Technical Institute and the Ministry of Public Service.  Ranks also benefitted from defensive training and heavy-duty equipment operation.