REMARKS BY HONOURABLE KYE RYMER
MINISTER FOR TRANSPORTATION, WORKS AND UTILITIES
HANDOVER CEREMONY FOR THE GROUND-FLOOR RENOVATIONS
THE VIRGIN ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE HEADQUARTERS, ROAD TOWN
OCTOBER, 14TH 2021
Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Resiliency these have been theme words of this Government of the Virgin Islands. Today is no exception as you are witnesses to yet another example of your Government working for you.
Earlier this year, on 2nd March, we stood in the fire tender bay area of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters to sign a major contract with Metro Construction Limited. The agreement was in the amount of three hundred and thirty-two thousand, two hundred and six dollars and seventy-three cents ($332, 206.73) for the renovation of the ground floor of the Fire Headquarters.
Today, seven (7) months later, we are gathered here to receive a rehabilitated and resilient building for our Fire Officers. These are our Territory's emergency first responders, so this project took high priority on our 'to do' list. And I say to God be all the glory.
I toured the facilities on several occasions and saw the conditions that worsened over time. I have also heard the many cries and complaints of the fire officers. They spoke about the poor conditions of the deteriorating facility and the many challenges they had daily.
The conditions were plaguing the fire officers and needed to be rectified for their comfort, health, and safety. I am pleased that we have addressed some of the many issues that will provide a healthy and comfortable environment for this team.
In brief, I will detail the work that was executed through this contract:
• The officers can now enjoy fully rehabilitated restroom facilities. The floor and wall tiles in the bathrooms, new showers stalls with showerheads, new toilets and urinals, new vanities, and necessary sanitary ware were all replaced.
• The barracks for both the male and female officers has been completely renovated. New impact windows were installed along with new interior doors. The spaces have been fully air-conditioned to provide added comfort to our officers. The ceilings, flooring, and walls were all refinished. The electrical supply was upgraded, and new light fixtures were installed.
• The three storage rooms have been renovated with new impact windows, new exterior metal doors, and new interior doors. The walls have been repaired and re-painted. Flooring, upgraded electrical outlets, and new light fixtures are also some of the works performed.
• The Watch Room and other rooms has been renovated with new flooring, new ceilings, and finished walls. The bathroom was completely renovated with a new toilet, sink, and other amenities. New impact windows and doors were also installed.
• The lobby area, which serves as the main entrance to the building, has been retrofitted with replacing the main entrance door and concrete works to reduce the opening size as an added resiliency measure. A new talk-through system has been installed to allow for better yet safer interaction with members of the public that may visit the Fire Headquarters.
• A new metal roll-down door and new impact windows have been installed. New electrical fixtures and general cleanup and painting of the area were also executed.
I take this moment to congratulate Metro Construction Limited for undertaking the renovation works and completing them to a high standard. I am confident that our fire officers are very appreciative of the renewed spaces.
I express gratitude to the Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities, Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley, and the members of the Project Unit in the ministry, Mr. Fraites, Mr. Robin and Mr. Smith for managing the project to successful completion.
My appreciation is also extended to the Director of the Public Works Department, Mr. Jeremy Hodge, and his team for the renovations designs and technical support throughout the project.
I would also like to thank the Chief Fire Officer, Mr. Zebalon McClean, and all the fire officers for their continued patience as they worked around the construction work and experience through some of the inconvenience.
Although we have reached a significant milestone today, I acknowledge that much more needs to be addressed at this facility. The project's next phase will be to enhance security fencing, gates and other external works to provide a comprehensive upgrade to the entire compound. Additionally, the design of the new tender Bay Area will commence in the next few months.
As this week is fire safety week, I take this opportunity to thank again the Chief Fire Officer and his cadre for their hard work and dedication to the safety of all in this Territory. Let's continue to express our support and appreciation as this week is celebrated under the theme "Fire Safety is for Everyone. Be Healthy and Safe in 2021".
May God bless us all. Thank You.