Following a fire in The Point that has destroyed at least seven houses and left a number of families homeless, Chester Hughes is calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Gaston Browne or his Public Safety Minister, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin.
On Thursday night, March 10, firefighters fought to extinguish the St. George Street blaze, which reportedly began inside a two-storey dwelling house.
However, due to the very strong winds and other factors, the fire quickly engulfed other houses that stood close by.
There was not enough water in the fire hydrant, and little water available in the community, and this negatively impacted the fire-fighters’ efforts. Additionally, they were dependent on the island’s only working fire truck, which had to travel from All Saints to the City to battle the blaze.
Residents say that private water truckers and the Chinese nationals working on the Port Redevelopment Project saved the day by providing water trucks, as well.
Taking all this into account, Hughes is calling for heads to roll.
Hughes, who is the Deputy Chair of the United Progressive Party (UPP), says the state in which the Fire Department now finds itself is disgraceful. He adds that Thursday night’s events reminded him of 2003, just prior to the UPP taking office, when there was also one working fire trucks to service the entire island.
While there are working tenders at the V.C. Bird International Airport, because of international regulations those machines cannot leave the compound – except in cases of grave emergency.
Hughes asks what has become of the millions collected by the Browne Administration under the Citizenship by Investment Programme, noting that some of this money could have been used to purchase new fire tenders.
He says the Government does not appear to be interested in properly equipping the Fire Department, since there was no mention of new trucks in the recent budget.
For years, the Browne Administration has been promising the Fire Department at least seven new trucks – which would have to be built to specification.