Saint Lucia has a new Chief Fire Officer, Mr. Ditney Downes whose appointment took effect on October 1, 2023.
Downes, who formerly served as Acting Fire Chief, joined the Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) when he turned nineteen on June 17, 1991, and moved up through the ranks.
He attended the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, where he achieved a degree in Management and Government with upper second-class honours.
Downes also has a certificate in public administration.
He attended the National Fire Academy in Maryland, USA, where he pursued the prestigious four-year executive fire officer program.
In addition, he has received training in Singapore, Poland, Switzerland, and throughout the Caribbean.
As fire chief, the 51-year old will be in charge of over three hundred Saint Lucia Fire Service staff.
His appointment preceded a $26 million government allocation to enhance the fire department’s capacity and improve emergency response services in Saint Lucia.
The Lower House of Parliament, on October 3, 2023, passed a motion tabled by Prime Minister Pierre to secure the financing from the Special Fund Reserve of the Caribbean Development Bank allocated from the European Investment Bank Climate Action Line of Credit II.
The funds will procure new emergency response vehicles including an aerodrome truck, train fire officers, and strengthen the institutional framework of the fire service.