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MPs to see amendments to airport fire service rules

LF Wade International Airport (Photograph supplied)

A shake-up of regulations governing firefighter cover at LF Wade International Airport is expected to go before MPs as the House of Assembly meets today for the first time this year.

The government proposals contained in the Fire Safety Amendment Act 2023 follow continued controversy over staffing numbers for the emergency services at the travel hub.

The session, which will see the public and media allowed back to witness proceedings for the first time since the Covid-19 emergency was declared in 2020, also features legislative proposals regarding the police, but they are not expected to be extensive.

The gathering, which comes in the run-up to the February 17 Budget, will also see six ministerial statements.

A government source told The Royal Gazette: “These changes could see a reduction in the necessary number of firefighters at the airport. But they are needed to deal with the situation and staffing levels would still reach benchmarks.”

Michael Weeks, the National Security Minister, said in September that overseas firefighters who stepped in to fill a staffing gap at Bermuda’s airport were likely to remain on the island for “at least” another year.

Ten Canadian staff clocked on at LF Wade International Airport last July to keep the island in compliance with international air standards.

Mr Weeks said in the autumn that a further 25 firefighters from Canada had been taken on, to cover airport requirements through to the end of March.

The fire service’s difficulties in finding Bermudian staff go back more than a decade.

In 2010 The Royal Gazette reported a recruitment drive had rejected almost all local applicants because the strict academic, psychological and drug tests as well as fitness requirements excluded the majority of would-be Bermudian firefighters.

No legislation has been left over to be dealt with from the last session of the House of Assembly in December.

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, is giving a statement on “independent contractor guidance pursuant to the Employment Act”. The Government has stated it wishes to stop people being employed as independent contractors where the working relationship resembled that of an employee .

Tinée Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors, will present an update on litigation guardian services.

Wayne Furbert, the Minister of Transport, is talking about the performance of electronic buses.

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, is set to give an update on the proposed parish primary schools at Purvis Primary and Francis Patton Primary, the first primary schools slated to be converted into parish schools under the education restructuring plan.

MPs will also be given a Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Public Accounts report regarding the Auditor-General’s public interest reports on the Government’s response to Covid-19.

David Burt, the Premier, will be absent from the session.

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Published February 03, 2023 at 7:52 am (Updated February 03, 2023 at 7:52 am)

MPs to see amendments to airport fire service rules

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