The development and publication of a vision statement, a new mission statement for the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and greater training opportunities are among the plans which newly elected president Errol Maynard has for the organization.
Mr. Maynard, who is also Barbados’ Chief Fire Officer, outlined these plans in his maiden speech, after being handed the baton during the opening ceremony of the 18th CAFC Conference and Exhibition presently under way at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa.
And, he has thrown out the challenge of developing a vision statement to the chiefs, attending the Senior Officers Leadership Academy sessions during the conference, to come together as a body and develop a vision statement.
“As I was reflecting, and as the conference came closer, I realized that the association did not have a published vision statement…. I believe it is time that we as an association create a vision statement that will go hand in hand with our mission statement and reflect the transition and proposed trajectory of this association,” he said.
The president further noted that the organization’s mission statement might also have to change to demonstrate how their world as first responders was evolving with the advent of stronger weather systems, the threat of terrorism, increased seismic activity and the likelihood of tsunamis.
But, he stressed, in all this, training must feature high on the agenda if responders were to be prepared to handle changing events and new dangers.
Mr. Maynard told those present that such initiatives could be achieved through bilateral and multilateral relationships with regional and extra regional entities, such as Colombia South University and Waldorf University.
“Additionally, we will intensify our relationship with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council…to develop National Vocational Qualifications and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications for the industry,” he said.
This, he added, would assist in the development of common industry standards across the region, thereby allowing practitioners to ply their trade seamlessly.
Mr. Maynard warned that the fire services across the region could “ill afford” to become irrelevant and obsolete, and therefore changes that were critical to the survival of the Fire and Emergency Services industry within the region must be pursued, and made with alacrity.
To this end, he challenged the firefighters that it was time to be known beyond the borders of the region. “The profile of the CAFC has to be enhanced as the association represents the core of disaster and emergency response in the region,” he said.
Mr. Maynard stated that there will be a push for formal recognition and support from CARICOM and all other regional agencies during the next quadrennial.
However, to achieve this, Mr. Maynard said: “We need your help to get the job done; we need your help to build and maintain resilient communities; we need your help to fortify the region. Together, we will achieve; together, we will raise the bar.”
Mr. Maynard took over presidency of the association from Bermuda’s Fire Chief, and former CAFC President, Reginald Burchall.
There are presently 15 countries participating in the conference, which will conclude on Saturday with an awards ceremony.