The Chairman of the St. Lucia Fire Service Association, Shane Felix, has lamented that despite recommendations from several reports, personality continues to supersede policy in the fire department.
Felix made the comments in an inaugural New Year address.
He said one of the areas of deepest interest for most firefighters is the current promotions process.
The association Chairman quoted excerpts from a 1996 Management Audit, the 2013 Commission of Inquiry report, and the 2016 review, all indicating dissatisfaction among fire officers who felt that the promotion process was unfair.
“Staff feel that they have very little or no positive career development opportunities and that some promotions in the past have been used to “reward” those loyal to management whilst the denial of progression has been used to “punish” those seen as troublesome,” Felix quoted the 2016 review as saying on page 11.
“In my opinion, the deliberate denial of upward mobility to anyone is tantamount to solitary confinement while serving a prison sentence,” he asserted.
Felix recalled that at a meeting with Home Affairs Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte, she indicated the ongoing plans to improve the overall process for promotions.
And he disclosed that the St. Lucia Fire Service Association would seek priority for ‘this sensitive subject’ at follow-up meetings.
Felix explained that the objective would be to eliminate or ameliorate the contention, dissatisfaction, and frustration firefighters have endured.
He explained that other areas are also important to the association.
As a result, Felix explained that, in discussion with the authorities, the organisation would seek to address those matters to elevate the SLFS to ‘a place of national recognition’.