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JIS News

The Department of Local Government and the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) have extended the search for a suitable location to accommodate the JFB’s central operations.
The move has become necessary as office space previously identified in an unoccupied section of the Central Sorting Office complex on South Camp Road, downtown Kingston, has been deemed inadequate to accommodate the JFB’s central activities. These include the administrative and operations branches, located at 14 Port Royal Street, and the Fire Prevention headquarters situated on the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) office building at 12 Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston.
The search for a suitable alternative location is consequent on a notice which JFB received to vacate its current location at Port Royal Street, as well as a move to accommodate all of the JFB’s central activities in one location.
State Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, told JIS News that the JFB requires upwards of 12,000 square feet of space to accommodate the activities currently housed at the two locations in downtown Kingston.
Mr. Montague informed that plans to utilise space at the CSO were aborted after it was determined that the area would require extensive work to provide the required space. He added that “it would be easier to build a building than to retrofit that space,” disclosing that no work had commenced there.
“We are now actively looking at (other) available Government space, (and) I think there are some 12 (locations) that we have (identified and) forwarded to my technical department as well as to the fire brigade,” Mr. Montague said, pointing out that site visits were being pursued, from which he is to receive a report.
Deputy Commissioner Neil Findlay, who heads the JFB’s administrative division, confirmed the receipt of a list of alternative locations from the Department of Local Government, pointing out that these were being perused to determine the most suitable option. While pointing out that the JFB was “not really (under) any pressure” to relocate, he stressed that “obviously, we would want to comply”.
“That (relocate) is what we would want to do as quickly as possible. However, we would want to have the type of headquarters that is in keeping with world standards where we would expand beyond just having these offices put together. .. a headquarters that would (fully) depict the functions of the fire brigade,” Deputy Commissioner Findlay said.
He also gave the assurance that, despite both branches being at different locations, the JFB remains capable of effectively executing its duties and functions.
Offices at 2 Hagley Park Road in Half-Way Tree, St. Andrew, were previously earmarked for the relocation of the JFB headquarters. However, those plans were aborted following instructions by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding in his Budget presentation in May that the Ministry of Water and Housing, which currently occupies offices at The Towers business complex in New Kingston, return to Hagley Park Road.
The offices at Hagley Park Road were previously occupied by some departments of the Ministry, and housed the Ministry of Construction during the 1980s when Mr. Golding held portfolio responsibility for same.
Departments falling under the JFB’s administrative arm, headed by Deputy Commissioner Findlay are General Maintenance, Accounts, Human Resources, Communications, and Stores. Those under the operations branch headed by Deputy Commissioner Errol Mowatt, comprise the Fire Prevention Division, Emergency Medical Services, Training, as well as the central offices for fire stations in Areas I, II, III and IV. These sections are staffed by upwards of 70 persons.

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