Government Evaluates Separation of Fire Department from Police Force Amid Logistical and Cost Challenges

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

The government is continuing to evaluate the logistics and cost of separating the Fire Department from the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.

This move follows years of advocacy from Fire Department members, who argue that specialized training and focus would improve fire response times.

Despite a seven-member select committee being appointed last year to review the Fire and Rescue Bill, there has been no progress nearly 10 months later. Antigua and Barbuda remains one of the few Caricom nations with a combined fire and police force.

Ambassador Lionel Hurst, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, highlighted the challenges being considered by Attorney General Sir Steadroy Benjamin. “Transforming to a modern fire department would increase costs and require more fire personnel and administrative changes,” Hurst said. “It’s a slow process to ensure no one is adversely affected, but it will eventually happen.”

Last September, the Attorney General agreed to form a committee to gather input from fire department members, key stakeholders, and the public. The committee includes MPs Maria Browne, Daryll Matthew, Melford Nicholas, Jamale Pringle, Richard Lewis, and Sherfield Bowen.

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