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Just days after government had washed its hands off the responsibility of dealing with the growing contention at the St Lucia Fire Service, the Chief Fire Officer has been transferred.

The pronouncement came during an Address to the Nation on Sunday night, when Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony announced that Mr Leslie Fontenelle will be squandered to the St Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority as its air craft and fire fighting advisor.

The fire Chief has been at the centre of a controversy at the department and has been accused of high handedness and mismanagement among other claims. The situation was compounded, following a commission of inquiry report which found evidence to support that claims against the fire chief.

Servicemen and women who had been staging industrial action last week were adamant that they would not return to work unless Mr Fontenelle was removed.
In his statement last night, the Prime Minister noted that given that disciplinary procedures of the public service commission would only prolong the final resolution. Dr Anthony stated in the circumstances, a different approach has had to be fashioned.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister also had some harsh words for subordinate officers at the department.

He noted that while the Commission of inquiry report has highlighted the failings of the fire Chief it has also pointed to indiscipline as a major issue plaguing the department on the part of both management and line staff.

Dr Anthony concluded that the St Lucia Fire Service which was constructed prior to the nation’s independence badly needs to be healed and modernised.
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