Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool has told a group of seven newly recruited fire fighters that they – as well as elected representatives – cannot hide from the people, and therefore should not want to hide.
“As an elected representative of the people and, as fire officers, we have similarly pledged to serve the public, without favouritism. We will continually be in the public’s eye; we will be scrutinized and we will be criticized. We cannot hide, nor do we really want to hide from the public we serve, as we know that no matter what we wear or where we go, we will always be Honourable Mark Vanterpool or officers of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department.”
Vanterpool further told the recruits that the good they do will not always be appreciated.
“Many times, you will find that the good you do is not appreciated, but you will have to forge ahead nonetheless. It can be a thankless job, but this is what you have committed to do and I commend you for getting involved in this way.”
The minister noted that the fire service is important in the community.
“What would we do without fire officers? Who would put out the random fires that occur, whether they be bush fires, vehicular or boat fires, or fires that threaten to destroy our homes and businesses? Who would help to extricate accident victims? So, your job is extremely important and valuable, and I want to let you know that you are appreciated. I encourage you, as new recruits, to work together with your colleagues to carry out this very important function,” Vanterpool said.
He noted that the Passing Out Parade where he was speaking was the third to be held by the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services in the last five years; the other years being 2012 and 2014.
Describing this year’s batch of recruits who completed 14 weeks of training, the minister said: “I am very pleased to learn of the composition of these recruits. Two are from Virgin Gorda; there is one female; the youngest is under the age 20; and the oldest is over 30. This speaks to the equal opportunity, values and future sustainability of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department.”