Fire Department-Police Force Separation Deferred Due to Cost Concerns


REAL NEWS – Plans for the separation of the Police Force and the Fire Department reportedly have been shelved, REAL News has learned.

Discussions on this matter have been taking place for years, with an overwhelming vote to effect the separation having been cast by members of the Fire Brigade since June 2019.

On that occasion, officers had expressed the view that the time had come for progress to take place, and this would be accomplished only when the departments were separated.

This reportedly confirmed to Minister of Legal Affairs and Public Safety Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin that the men and women of the Fire Department were, in fact, ready for the unit to stand alone.

Although the decision would ultimately be made by the policymakers, in the interest of participatory government, the Administration thought it necessary to involve the officers, Benjamin said, then.

Former Fire Chief Elvis Weaver had been a regular voice calling for the separation of the Fire Department from the Police Force; and on March 17, 2022, before he left office, he reiterated the call on the Good Morning Sass Show.

Weaver had noted that Antigua and Barbuda is one of the few Caribbean countries that still have the joint arrangement in place.

Again, in February this year, media reports indicated that the long delayed separation was still set to become a reality, although many officers had lost hope that it would materialize.

In June 2022, plans for the separation seemed to have been in the final stages, since Minister Benjamin announced that the relevant Bill would be taken to Parliament – but that did not happen.

Benjamin later reassured the members of the Force that separation was still on the cards, and would be considered in the new term of the Gaston Browne Administration, when the Parliament was fully convened.

However, a reliable source now tells REAL News that the Government has made an about-turn on the separation plans.

According to the source, the Fire Department augments the strength of the Police Force during national functions; and any separation would result in the Police having to enlist quite a number of officers to replace the firefighters.

The source says the Browne Administration cannot hire enough persons to augment the Force since it is financially embarrassed.

Given this reality, REAL News was told, a number of firefighters have indicated their intention to opt for early retirement, since the present fire chief is considered younger than most officers and will stagnate promotions.

Back in 2019 Chief Weaver and Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney submitted a document to the Cabinet outlining the details for the separation process.

It is believed that the separation would be of great benefit to the men and women of the Fire Service in terms of better training and faster response times, by allowing them to focus specifically on fire duties.







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  1. I agree don’t separate them at all because It is important to have transparency and accountability in government finances and when you have persons within the fire department stealing and committing fraud for thier own personal gain its simply corruption at its best. The way how i see it if they could not manage their own finances, how on earth can they manage to be an entity by themselves. We the public want to know after investigating the missing funds, how much money in total was stolen whilst the previous head was there???? Not this hog wash about manpower and we also want to know who was the person or persons that stole the money.

    • Police and Fire Department should not be one. They perform completely different tasks. If as you suggested that persons are stealing from the Fire Department. Then there should be an Audit oversight committee set up for the Fire Department as well as the Police Department. So that all thievery would rise to the top. Name and shame them publicly. Do the same for all enriching of self with Public Funds, regardless of status.

      • Cap 170 establish the fire department so there is already a separation. Being seconded or assigned to the fire department should be temporary and if your transferred it is permanent. So which one it is.

  2. Antigua is the only place I am aware of that combined Police and Fire Departments under the same umbrella.So the Police Commissioner is in charge of the Fire Department as well.Could that be one of many reasons why the Police Department runs like crap.He has too much food on his plate to eat.So he cannot manage it efficiently and or effectively.

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