Mon | May 27, 2019

Sav mayor to report Bethel Town Fire Station woes to Japanese donors

Published:Saturday | May 18, 2019 | 12:18 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Danree Delancy, deputy mayor of Savanna-la-Mar and councillor for the Bethel Town division.
Danree Delancy, deputy mayor of Savanna-la-Mar and councillor for the Bethel Town division.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Councillor Danree Delancy, the deputy mayor of Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland, has described as shameful and disgraceful the manner in which the establishment of a fire substation, which the Japanese government is funding in the Bethel Town community, is being handled.

In 2014, the Japanese Government, through the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy, donated two fire trucks and two ambulances valued at $8.1 million to the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) to boost the parish’s emergency response to acts of natural disasters and to establish a fire substation in Bethel Town.

Units on Loan

However, with almost five years of inactivity and some of the units on loan to other parishes, much to the disgust of the WMC, Delancy is far from pleased with the situation.

“It’s a shame and disgrace upon us all. It’s a shame and disgrace on the Ministry of Local Government. I think that our Japanese friends must be disappointed,” said Delancy, echoing similar sentiments to Mayor Bertel Moore, who has made it clear that he plans to write a letter of complaint to the Japanese.

Delancy was reacting to the news that two of the four fire trucks assigned to the Westmoreland Fire Department had been reassigned to St James, the headquarters of the Jamaica Fire Brigade’s Area Four, which covers Westmoreland, St James, and Hanover.

“I am now beginning to feel like Westmoreland is the forgotten parish. We have been treated very badly,” said Delancy, who, interestingly, is the councillor for the Bethel Town division. “

“It has been eight years that the fire station for Bethel Town has been on the books of the corporation. I thought it was well advanced to serve the entire eastern side of Westmoreland, but lo and behold, it seems we are taking several steps backward as far as this matter goes,” he added.

In the 2013-2014 financial year, the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of National Security reached an agreement that a section of the Bethel Town Police Station would be used to house a fire substation, which would serve a quick-response base to address emergency needs in that section of the parish.

Westmoreland is dominated by board houses and has had a long history of devastating cane fires, and the peeved councillors believe that the current situation exposes many residents and businesses to possible peril.