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  • The Westmoreland Parish Council has received two fire trucks and two ambulances, valued at $8.1 million, from the Japanese Government.
  • The emergency vehicles were donated by the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy, with funding support under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project.
  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, in expressing gratitude to the Japanese Government, said the vehicles will be of great benefit to the people of Westmoreland.

The Westmoreland Parish Council has received two fire trucks and two ambulances, valued at $8.1 million, from the Japanese Government.

The emergency vehicles were donated by the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy, with funding support under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, in expressing gratitude to the Japanese Government, said the vehicles will be of great benefit to the people of Westmoreland.

He was addressing the handover ceremony on December 5 at the Ministry’s head offices in Kingston.

Minister Arscott informed that one fire truck and an ambulance will be deployed to the Savanna-la-Mar Fire Station, while the other two units will be sent to the Bethel Town Police Station, where a fire substation will be established.

For his part, Japan’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Yasuo Takase, said his Government is “more than pleased” that the people of Westmoreland will now have improved access to emergency services through the provision of the units.

He noted that since 1995, the Japanese Government has provided funding in the amount of $5.7 million for 81 projects across Jamaica under its Grassroots Human Security Project.

Ambassador Takase also informed that under his tenure, from November 2012 to present, the Embassy has significantly expanded its development cooperation with Jamaica, increasing its grant assistance from two or three projects a year to eight.

“These projects have broadened Jamaica’s capacity to respond to the needs of health and emergency care, education, community development, agriculture as well as other critical areas,” he stated.

In his remarks, State Minister in the Local Government Ministry, Hon. Colin Fagan, said the Government remains committed to improving the emergency response capabilities of the Jamaica Fire Brigade.

He informed that for this financial year, a total of three new fire engines were purchased, and there are plans to acquire an additional three units next fiscal year.

State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Member of Parliament for Eastern Westmoreland, Hon. Luther Buchanan, said he is pleased that Bethel Town will finally have its own fire post.

He noted that the establishment of the substation will enable much more efficient response to fires and other emergencies in the area.

“Today marks a milestone achievement for Eastern Westmoreland, thanks to the people of Japan, as we now have a fire post to help alleviate the pains and trauma that comes with the loss of property owing to fires,” he stated.

Mr. Buchanan also thanked the Ministry of National Security for accommodating the new fire substation at the Bethel Town Police station.

Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertel Moore, said the donation has increased from two to eight, the total number of fire trucks and ambulances, which the Parish Council has to serve Westmoreland.

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