The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has donated an ambulance to the Negril Fire Department in Westmoreland, which was procured at a cost of $18 million.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in his remarks at the handover ceremony held on Friday (July 31) emphasised that fire departments are important in ensuring visitor safety on the island.
“Safety enables a feeling that you can move around seamlessly, you can move around freely, [and] confidently – that if something happens, there is a recourse, there is a reference, and there is protection,” Mr. Bartlett said.
“The fire department is that big area for us… . When the fire department is properly resourced, it reduces the risk in our space. Reducing the risk in our space gives us the confidence that we can move about and the visitors can feel the same sense of security and safety that we all feel,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett further noted that TEF also spent an additional $7.6 million to renovate the fire station.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the TEF, Dr. Carey Wallace, noted that the handover was a “collaborative effort with the Jamaica Fire Brigade and it’s a great project”.
For his part, Deputy Commissioner in Charge of Operations at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Kevin Haughton, expressed gratitude to the TEF.
He noted that the TEF’s contribution to the brigade has helped to enhance its capabilities, primarily in the area of emergency medical response.
“Today’s partnership does not only ameliorate the aesthetics of the Negril Fire Station but has lifted the morale of the over 48 members of staff who work at this facility,” Mr. Haughton said.
He noted that the staff at the station is committed to ensuring that the newly rehabilitated building and the ambulance are maintained.
Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertel Moore, commended the TEF for making the donation, as it is much needed at the station.
“I want to thank the TEF for moving through this process to let us get another ambulance in Negril and I want to thank the firemen and the emergency team that work with them for what they have been doing,” Mayor Moore said.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Western Westmoreland, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, also expressed gratitude to the TEF for the donation.