JIS News

The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is pursuing discussions with the Department of Local Government regarding a possible increase in fees charged for services it currently delivers.
Assistant Commissioner of the JFB and Chief Fire Prevention Officer, Samuel McIntosh, informed JIS News that an increase in the range of 17 per cent is being sought, which he pointed out would be “tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).” If granted, the increase is expected to significantly augment the JFB’s budget.
Services for which the JFB currently charges for are: sub-divisions and plan reviews within Kingston and St. Andrew; certification of premises, inclusive of inspections and issuance of fire safety compliance certificates; permits to host events; safety monitors for training and events; fire reports; and hydrant certificates. The Assistant Commissioner pointed out that the last increase was in 2006 when the sub-division plan fee was reviewed and adjusted.
Mr. McIntosh further advised that the JFB is also pursuing the implementation of fees for services, which do not currently attract charges. These include: building plan reviews; sub-division plans for all other parishes; and fireworks displays.
The JFB’s Deputy Commissioner in charge of Administration, Neil Findlay, told JIS News that implementation of fees for the emergency medical service, which the agency also provides, is also being pursued.
“There are aspects of it, for example transporting. patients (from which) income could be generated. So, we are looking…to see if we can generate some funds there,” he said.
New fees were last implemented in 2005 for sub-division plan reviews. No application is however, being sought for implementation of fees for building inspections; fire drills; and conducting lectures.
Deputy Commissioner Findlay informed that some of the fees currently being charged have been in place “in excess of 15 years”, and as such “it is really prudent for us to look at an increase.”
“Some of those (fees) that exist now…are low and it is our belief that we can extend some more (of the) services, and also widen the charges,” he contended.
In an interview with JIS News in September, State Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, indicated that the Department was “stepping up” activities regarding the JFB’s income generation initiatives. This disclosure coincided with the recasting of the 2009/10 Budget, announced in Parliament by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, which saw revisions in allocations to the various Government agencies and departments.
The JFB’s primary mandate entails saving lives and property, in addition to the aforementioned activities.
These it executes in tandem with a number of other public, and private sector agency stakeholders, including the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); National Water Commission (NWC); National Works Agency (NWA); Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) as well as the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and Parish Councils.

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