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Should we believe the Commissioner or the fireman?


Fri, Sept 7, 2012

Editor: Why am I not surprised with the response of the Commissioner of Police regarding that article in the midweek edition of the SEARCHLIGHT newspaper of August 28, 2012?{{more}}

While it is true that the policeman/woman has breached the Police Act, and this should not have been, the issue is much bigger than breaching an Act.

It is typical of Mr Miller to attack you when he is confronted with a situation which has him backed into a corner. No doubt, we could see this coming out in that front page article of the SEARCHLIGHT newspaper of Friday, August 31, 2012, which was his response to what the fireman has reported to the media.

Rather than dealing with the issue at hand, his focus is on whoever that policeman is who had gone to the press to air their dissatisfaction with the conditions at the Fire Department.

In order for Mr Miller to get to a point, he must first take you on a ride all over, jumping like a kangaroo from point to point, before he gets to the real point. And when he does get there, he ends up off target. One never gets the point that he wants to make.

How on earth the commissioner comes to the conclusion that that police is only interested in self, beats me. I see someone who is concerned about his colleagues and himself and the terrible conditions under which they all have to work. I sensed that this man and others have been complaining to the authorities and have not been paid any mind. And seeing that there seems to be no immediate solution to their problems, this officer chose to go to the media to air his concerns.

They are there and they are well aware of what is going on in the organisation, but Mr Miller doesn’t think so. Maybe he is speaking of himself.

What I think should be done is to have some serious investigation into some of these issues and stop listening to the utterances of Mr Miller. Who should we believe, the fireman or Mr Miller? I personally don’t think Mr Miller is a man of truth.

As I read between the lines of his response to what that fireman has said, I sensed that he was actually hiding something. He strayed from the real issues at hand and dealt with things that have no bearing on the concerns raised by the fireman.

It is the responsibility of the commissioner of police, as head of the Police Service, to ensure that men have the requisite gear and equipment or tools to perform their duties effectively. He is responsible for ensuring that their working environment is conducive to working. A man will not be able to do his job well, if he doesn’t have the tool to do his work. As commissioner, you are supposed to impress upon the government to provide the necessary tools, gears, etc that are needed by your members. And when their needs are not met, they have all right to complain.

Can you tell me, Mr Miller how does having ‘O’levels and ‘A’ levels relate to training of fire fighters? How would they apply these to rescuing someone from the upper floor of a burning building? Sir, it is good to encourage your men to educate themselves by going to evening classes and trying to get some subjects. I support that. But the firemen need the training in firefighting skills and techniques so that they can do a better job at fighting fires.

When there is a fire, you pull men from traffic, Special Service Unit and Rapid Response Unit. Tell me, sir, do these men have protective gear? I know that the traffic men will be responsible for the diversion of the traffic and some other policemen may be there to help to save things from nearby properties and at the same time stop people from looting. Those who are not actual firefighters, but are sometimes seen at the front with hoses, battling fire, what kind of gear do they wear to protect themselves? I hope that we are not going to wait until someone is badly burnt before we start to provide these men with the right tools and gear. Let us try to avoid that situation that took place some years ago with that Lyric fire, where 181 Peters was badly burnt.

I remember as child growing up in Old Montrose, it was a joy to look at the firemen on Friday mornings long ago, doing their fire drills around the Victoria Park area, next to that river, from which they used to get their water, using the portable pump. That was a form of training. What has happened to those drills?

Speaking of Victoria Park, I can also remember well, around Carnival time, every show that took place at the Park, there used to be a fire tender in attendance. In recent times, I have noticed that this doesn’t happen. What if there is a fire at the park during one of these shows, what next? You see, sir, these are issues you should be looking into and not to attack that police officer who brought to the public the ills of the Fire Department.

It is about time that the powers that be look seriously at separating the Fire Service from the rest of the Police Service, and let the firemen be firemen, with their primary focus on dealing with fires. There is also need for some substations in other districts, with a small fire tender posted there, to be the first response to a fire in the neighbourhood. These substations can be on the same compound with the police stations.

We all know that the Fire Service needs some upgrading, so let us get the discussion going to see what improvements we can make to improve this service. We have so many Rapid Response Units all over this country. How about heading this way with the Fire Service? This will be a way of creating employment for others.

Mr Commissioner of Police, I beg of you please, have some serious talks with the government concerning the improvement of this service and stop attacking your men.

They need better representation.