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Fire fighters await promotions after exams…. Chief says it’s not automatic

Guyana Fire Service Headquarters

Fire Chief, Marlon Gentle on Sunday said that although several fire fighters late last year passed examinations promotion were not automatic.

“Exams are not the only criteria. Not because you pass an examination you’re automatically promoted,” he told Demerara Waves Online News. The others, he said, included performance on the job and qualification for the next in rank.

Sources said the GFS has vacancies for an estimated 20 Leading Firemen/women and 12 Section Leaders. Demerara Waves Online News was told that of the 98 persons who sat the Leading Firemen Exam, 34 passed and 64 failed while 28 out of 40 passed the Section Leader Examination.

Gentle ruled out the rewriting of exams that were held December 18 and 20. “The exams don’t have to be written over. Who pass, pass,” he said. Gentle added that supplementary examinations might not be written either.

Asked whether there was a delay in promoting persons after the December 2013 examinations, he said the Chief Fire Officer first has to convene a panel “wherever and whenever” he feels before submitting his recommendations to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs before they are dispatched to the Public Service Ministry.

Fire fighters are public officers governed by Public Service rules.

Gentle could not immediately say when the recommendations would be dispatched to the Home Affairs Ministry because, according to him, the current focus was “filling vacancies from the bottom.”

The Chief Fire Officer said the GFS on Saturday began a recruitment drive in Georgetown and the administration planned to fan out to areas outside the city. The recruits, he said, would have to sit an examination.

Gentle explained that with the increase in the GFS’s establishment to 500 persons and the opening of new fire stations, there would be room for upward mobility.

Plans are currently underway to open a new fire station on the West Bank Demerara- possibly at La Grange- later this year to serve the new housing schemes and other areas. The Skeldon Fire Station is also to be upgraded.

Fire service locations have been established in Lethem, Mahdia, Kwakwani and North West District within the last two years.