Statement
17 May 2017 - 4:13pm

MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND WORKS
HONOURABLE MARK VANTERPOOL
VIRGIN ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

PASSING OUT PARADE

MAY 12, 2017

PLEDGE TO SERVE THE PUBLIC, WITHOUT FAVOURITISM

Ladies and Gentlemen, today, we gather here to celebrate the achievements of a number of individuals in our community, as they take their desire to serve, to another level.

This Passing Out Parade is the 3rd to be held by the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department in the last five years, the first of these held in 2012 and again in 2014.

The Parade signifies the final step of the Comprehensive Emergency Response Training for these seven recruits, who have now completed 14 long, hard weeks of training in firefighting techniques, rescue, theory, physical exercises and mental training. Following today’s ceremony, you will formally join the local and international fraternity of Fire Officers.

I am very pleased to learn of the composition of these recruits: two are from Virgin Gorda, there is one female, the youngest is under the age 20 and the oldest is over 30. This speaks to the equal opportunity values and future sustainability of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these new recruits have joined the ranks of an elite group of Officers of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department, who have all sworn to continue the tradition of service – To Save Lives, Protect Property and the Environment and Render Humanitarian Services. The Officers of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department have all pledged to remain committed to the task, in the interest of every resident and visitor to these Virgin Islands.

As an Elected Representative of the people and as Fire Officers, we have similarly pledged to serve the public, without favouritism. We will continually be in the public’s eye, we will be scrutinized and we will be criticized. We cannot hide, nor do we really want to hide from the public we serve, as we know that no matter what we wear or where we go, we will always be Honourable Mark Vanterpool or Officers of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department.

Many times, you will find that the good you do is not appreciated, but you will have to forge ahead nonetheless. It can be a thankless job, but this is what you have committed to do and I commend you for getting involved in this way.

What would we do without Fire Officers? Who would put out the random fires that occur, whether they be bush fires, vehicular or boat fires or fires that threaten to destroy our homes and businesses? Who would help to extricate accident victims?

So, your job is extremely important and valuable and I want to let you know that you are appreciated. I encourage you, as new recruits, to work together with your colleagues, to carry out this very important function.

From the Ministry of Communications and Works and on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands, we pledge our continued support to the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department.

Again, congratulations on your achievement – new recruits. We are very proud of you. Now the work begins…on the job. But because you are here, we know that you are able, capable and ready. I look forward to hearing great things about you.

Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen.

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