The Japanese Government has donated two fire trucks to the Jamaica Fire Brigade. The used trucks which are gifts from two Japanese municipalities - Kawaguchi City and Kasukabe City, were officially handed over on Tuesday at the York Park Fire Station in Kingston. Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Arnold Bertram, who accepted the trucks, said the donation would assist in the Government's programme of "modernising the equipment and the fleet with which firemen have to work." In addition to upgrading firefighting equipment, the Minister said the Government was looking at ways to upgrade the physical environment of fire station, expand the ranks of trained firefighters and modernise the Brigade's management system.
The Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, Isao Otsuka said the vehicles were transported to Jamaica under the 'Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects' of the Government of Japan. "We hope that these fire trucks will help to improve the fire-fighting capabilities of the Brigade, improve the response to fires, provide greater fire coverage and generally enable the Brigade to better carry out its function of saving lives and protecting property in Jamaica," Ambassador Otsuka said. "I am happy to know that these two fire trucks that had worked for the people in the two municipalities in Japan are now working for the people of Jamaica and they are in good condition," he added.
For almost 20 years, the Japanese Government has been providing various forms of assistance to the Fire Brigade under Japan's Official Development Assistance(ODA) programme. "Under Japan's ODA, our first assistance extended to the Jamaica Fire Brigade was in 1983 When Deputy Commissioner Frederick Whyte the first of the recipient under the training programmed offered by the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA)," Ambassador Otsuka noted."I hope that our assistance will prove most beneficial to the people of Jamaica and that we will all support and encourage the firefighters for the wonderful work they are doing," he said.