(Eleuthera, Bahamas) – During the first week of February 2016, the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) formally acknowledged a new partnership with the community based volunteer group, Men of Faith, in the area of emergency services.
Members of the RBPF in Central Eleuthera along with Officer in Charge of the Eleuthera District, Superintendent Christopher Wright met with the Men of Faith in front of Police Headquarters at the Worker’s House complex in Governor’s Harbour to officially recognize the group’s new role. “The significance about this morning is that for quite some time, the Central Eleuthera District has been without the use of a fire vehicle to respond to emergencies here,” explained Superintendent Wright. He went on to describe how Chief Councilor of the Central Eleuthera Local Government District Council, and President of the Palmetto Point Homecoming Committee, Mr. Hank Johnson, had procured a 1,000 gallon Fire Engine Pumper truck through donors.
The fire truck, which had arrived on island at the end of 2015, was then consigned to the Men of Faith, who would be responsible for the use and maintenance of the emergency vehicle, in partnership with the RBPF. “The Men of Faith who assists us with almost everything when it comes to community efforts – they will be the people who are responsible for the operation of the truck,” confirmed Supt. Wright, and added that the group had hit the ground running, already handling a fire call at the end of January. “We had to use the truck already, as recently as last week when we had a fire at the Ministry of Works shed at the old Naval Base. So this is much needed and we are ever so grateful, not only to Mr. Johnson, but also to the Men of Faith who came forward and are willing to take use of the truck, and will be able to respond to all emergencies as it relates to fire,” said Wright.
Jason Thompson, leader of the volunteer group, expressed their enthusiasm for the task, saying, “This represents team work. We spoke with the Police department to let them know that our volunteer group, the ‘Men of Faith’ are here to assist in anything that we can do to help to build up the community, that’s what we are here for and what we are all about. So whenever there is an emergency, the Police will call on us, and we are going to be there!”
Pineapple Fields, through principal, David Barlyn, has also forged a partnership with the Men of Faith and the RBPF, broadening the capacity of emergency services in the Central Eleuthera area, with an additional 2,000 gallon fire tanker, as well as a Ford Explorer, repurposed as an accident emergency response vehicle, equipped with a jaws of life tool and additional extrication equipment. An initial training session in emergency fire services (like basic operations, use of the fire truck, use of equipment and extinguishing fires) was held on January 9th for the volunteer group, with 18 people trained, and plans were for the next training sessions to focus on first aid, as well as the use of extrication equipment.
“Our goal now is to establish a building to facilitate housing of all of the equipment, and the fire trucks, as well as office space and a community center, where we can have continued training and meetings,” said Mr. Thompson. “We are well on the way. A year from now, this is going to be a department that rivals anything in the country, in terms of the training and the equipment and the community involvement, and I feel very confident in saying that”, added Mr. Barlyn, commenting that donor interest had already been expressed in providing the land. He continued, “I feel very blessed, in that this island has provided me with the opportunity to fulfil my dreams – by building a resort, and restaurant and providing jobs – and now it’s time to put back.”
Donations towards this cause are being welcomed from locals, winter residents, vacation homeowners and other members of the community. Contact Jason Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or David Barlyn (email@example.com), and funds can also be deposited at the Royal Bank of Canada – Acct. no. 121-1903 (Men of Faith).