Chief Fire Officer of the Barbados Fire Service and President of the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs, Errol Maynards, presenting the Fireman’s Challenge trophy to Fire Officer, Gregory Clarke, at the recently concluded Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs’ Conference at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa. (A.Husbands/BGIS)

Junior fire officers have been advised that they are responsible for their own destiny, and should let no one stop them from achieving their dreams.

That was the advice of Chief Fire Officer of the Barbados Fire Service, and President of the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC), as he delivered closing remarks during the recently concluded conference at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa.

Addressing officers who attended the Junior Officers’ Leadership Academy (JOLA) training during the conference, Mr. Maynard said: “We are solely responsible for our success and our failures.  If you continue to blame others for where you are not, then you will always be where you are.”

He urged them to avoid saying or believing that some person caused them to fail, or prevented them from achieving their goals.  “Let me say to you that if any of you are saying this, you need to stop now.  It does not take you anywhere. 

“You are in charge of your own destiny.  No man or woman has your destiny in their hands,” he declared.

The fire chief admitted that while there were “difficult” supervisors, they could not stop them from pursuing their dreams. 

“He or she cannot stop you from going online and pursuing certification; it is there for all.  That supervisor cannot stop you from attending vocational school to acquire a skill or a college or university to read for your degree,” Mr. Maynard said.

He added that the JOLA participants were chosen because their supervisors saw future leaders in them, and wanted to invest in them to move them along that path. 

“This is the simple reason why you cannot blame others for where you are.  You are in control of yourselves.  I encourage all of you to keep steering yourself in the right direction. Invest in your personal and professional development,” he said.

Turning his attention to the Senior Officers’ Leadership Academy, Mr. Maynard urged the Caribbean chiefs to return to their territories and departments and continue building on what was discussed during the conference.

“Do not let this time spent in Barbados serve as a talk shop.  We, as administrators, need to be the chief change agents in our departments.  We must set the example for our junior officers to follow.  We are charged with the responsibility to provide an enabling environment, which would inspire, motivate and be a launching pad for personal and professional development within our organizations,” Mr. Maynard stated.

The new CAFC President said he saw no reason why the Caribbean Association of Firefighters (CAF) and the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs could not have a similar vision to develop a fire and rescue services in the Caribbean.

“I pledge CAFC’s commitment to working with CAF towards the objectives, and for a memorandum of understanding to be in place in the next two months,” he said.

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