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‘Be responsible regarding starting fires around your property’- Hon Penn

-as a fire last evening gutted a home in Red Bay on the eastern end of Tortola
Opposition Member in the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA) Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) has called on member of the public to be responsible when starting fires around their property. Photo: VINO/File
This comes as a fire last evening, June 11, 2023, gutted a home in Red Bay on the eastern end of Tortola just after 8:00pm. Photo: Facebook
This comes as a fire last evening, June 11, 2023, gutted a home in Red Bay on the eastern end of Tortola just after 8:00pm. Photo: Facebook
RED BAY, Tortola, VI- Opposition Member in the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA), Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) has called on members of the public to be responsible when starting fires around their property.

This comes as a fire last evening, June 11, 2023, gutted a home in Red Bay on the eastern end of Tortola just after 8:00 pm.

“Good day all, I would like to firstly thank Almighty God for his grace and commend Albato George -  Station Officer, Samuel Lettsome -   Sub Officer, Benson Thomas - Sub Officer [and] the entire team from the Fire and Rescue Department and some concerned residents who were onsite last evening,” he said in a Facebook statement today, June 12, 2023.

Hon Penn added that if it were not for their swift and heroic actions to contain and extinguish the fire, the circumstances could have been so much worst for the properties and lives of persons living in the Red Bay/Parhamtown community.

No physical injuries - Hon Penn 

“Actions which I witnessed firsthand and I, therefore, give our community's collective gratitude and appreciation as a representative, for the efforts of all persons involved. I also sympathize with the family whose property sustained damage and I am happy that no one was physically harmed during last evening's unfortunate event,” he said.

While no official statement has been issued on the cause of the fire from the Fire and rescue department up to publication time, the Legislator further urged residents to be responsible regarding starting fires around their property and do so only with the consent, guidance, and supervision of the Fire and Rescue Department. 

“Our territory has been going through a very warm and dry period and such unauthorized actions could prove destructive,” he added.

Our news center will bring more details as it becomes available. 


30 Responses to “‘Be responsible regarding starting fires around your property’- Hon Penn ”

  • Ban burning (12/06/2023, 12:17) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    every year from 21 March to 21 June. April, May and June are always dry months so ban burning on all properties. Extend the ban to July and August if necessary.
  • jokes (12/06/2023, 12:34) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Haha tell me honestly who here is going to call and get consent from fire dept to burn something on their property? hahaha thats the biggest joke i hear all week. Next you will tell me scooter riders need to seek permission to ride wheelies.
    • @jokes (12/06/2023, 16:22) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      That’s the problem with a lot of us here. We feel because it’s our property we can do as we please. It’s a total disrespect and disregard to our neighbors. We don’t know if someone suffers from asthma or any other respiratory illness. We are also jeopardizing the safety of others around us should the fire get out of control. We have to change our mentality. Sick of it!!
  • Loosemouth (12/06/2023, 13:25) Like (17) Dislike (2) Reply
    Good afternoon . While I applaud the " heroic efforts" of the Fire Department it would have been a lot quicker if the Fire Station and equipment were functional in East End/ Long look. This is nothing new but it is time that the Fire Stations and other emergency Services...and the Police Stations in all of our districts including the outer Islands be manned and ready to serve the Public
    • Marla (12/06/2023, 15:42) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      I hope and pray that the powers that be see your post.
    • Manjack (12/06/2023, 19:35) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Loosemouth, tell me this is not so: “ While I applaud the " heroic efforts" of the Fire Department it would have been a lot quicker if the Fire Station and equipment were functional in East End/ Long look.” If so this is gross negligence, benign neglect , poor and ineffective budgeting, poor governance, etc, . Protecting the health and safety of residents and their property should be a #1 priority; ie, Job 2. A fire is an emergency action and does not wait for extinguishing action ; as long as it has fuel, it will burn baby burn. A territory that can afford to spend supposedly $250K on a dance party can surely from its approx $400M annual O &M budget to fund a fully functional , operational, prepared and ready fire and rescue system in every district, should it not? Every point in the territory, for the most part, ,should be equidistant from a fire and rescue system. Additionally , there should be an ambulance assigned to each fire and rescue system facility. At least, they should be strategically place in/for remote areas. This should be an urgent and important actionable item for Dr. Hon Premier Natalio Wheatley. No more excuses ; excuses can cause linjuries and lives.
      • East Resident (13/06/2023, 08:27) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        Indeed, the largest and most densely populated area in the territory is without operational fire and safety system. Dah mek sence? It seems like our elected get elected, get dress (GQ style) and go to work to rest. Tell me anybody what is more important protecting the life, and property of residents? Manjack, every manjack should be called on the carpet on this. Elected members both government and opposition need to do the wuk. I keeping hearing about this $250, 000.00 dance party. What is it and is it for real..See this happens when put political novices in charge. Here is a news flash, you can buy experience. Government should have applied the carpenters rule on this, ie, measure twice and cut once. The political system, the party system is a hot mess; there is succession planning. They are all power hungry, winging it at the people’s expense and misery. I dun get the damn fire and rescue system working in the East. Kye is this you? Get ah dun!!
      • E.Leonard (13/06/2023, 10:50) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        Fire and rescue is a costly but vital service to protect life and property in communities. Fire stations should be strategically located based on the needs of communities and should also be located where they optimally provide the best protective service to communities. As the territory grows and the population increases the need for more fire stations will increase. Travel times and travel distances within the zone(s) that a fire station covers are important factors in siting a fire station. As another blogger noted, all points in the territory, for the most part, should be equidistant from a fire station. In addition to travel time and travel distance, there are other considerations in mapping out location of a fire station, facility (building), apparatus, equipment, staffing, training, etc. Staffing is an important requirement, ie, fight fighters, paramedics, administrative support staff, etc. A fire engine requires a minimum number of qualified and trained/certified people for safety and effective operation for every shift. It is a costly operation but it is a cost of being a progressing territory. Too often, there is an increasing demand for more and better services but a disdain for paying even a little more to provide the service. Where should fire stations be located?

        The first order of business in the fire and rescue business plan should be to establish minimum travel time and travel distances in zones to respond to incidents. Further, a mapping procedure should be employed to determine where fire stations should be located. Ideally, the desire may be to locate a fire station in every district. However , the mapping may show this may not be necessary in every district, ie, 7th and 8th districts. Fire stations should be located as noted earlier where they can provide optimal use at the least cost. The mapping strategy allude to applies to Tortola. But the VI is not a contiguous territory so different strategies would have to be employed for outlying islands. This should part of the VI fire and rescue master plan.

        Moreover, the fire services should launch a robust territory- wide public outreach and education programme on fire safety and prevention, including inspection services.
        • @E. Leonard (13/06/2023, 12:00) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
          “It is a costly operation but it is a cost of being a progressing territory.” Yeah, we want to be First World but making Third World investments. And we as taxpayers,don’t want to make a fair contribution to becoming First World or Second World. Nevertheless, our elected leaders feed this attitude with their poor budgeting , planning and programming. We need to maximize our economic resources/output.
        • RealPol (13/06/2023, 12:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
          @ E.Leonard, is a real talk and must do, but the way our budget allocations are made this is long shot. We need to change our budgeting process, revenues/taxes/ fees structure, etc. Our debt to GDP is relatively low by IMF, World Bank, OECD, etc metrics for SIDS so we can prudently borrow to meet our needs.
          • Undercover Observer (14/06/2023, 06:18) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
            @RealPol, you want to kill we with more taxes; we are already burden with NHI, social security , land and house tax, etc. Government needs to maximize the expenditure of its revenue intake. As Manjack noted, it must maximize budget efficiency.. The problem with managing our budget is poor management. Too many non-managers are assigned management positions.. Further, a well design policy is useless if poorly executed and execution takes effective management. Let’s not confused programme and policy expertise with management. Many functions fail because they are led by programme and policy experts who cannot manage. Government performance will not improve unless more emphasis is place on management and fewer non-managers are place in management positions. Let’s focus on effective maximizing efficiency of budget resources before imposing more taxes on the electorate, especially the working class.
            • Truth (14/06/2023, 07:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
              Talking truth. Everybody come with a piece of paper, bachelor, master , PhD with no experience and want to push up themselves as managers and don’t know pullet from fowl. The poor outcomes demonstrate this. Experience has to be earned. One does not get it by osmosis or purchase at the store. Nevertheless, before the ink dries on de paper they want to be place at the top; they don’t want to climb the ladder. Take a peek at the underperforming departments in the territory, ie, health, Public works, water and sewage, roads, statistics, law enforcement, etc.
              • Eagle and Buffalo (14/06/2023, 16:05) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
                Concur with the notion of people wanting to race to the top based just on education with little practical experience. This attitude runs from top to bottom in government. Our elected leaders are not voted in based on demonstrated managerial and leadership ability. Few are voted on their policy expertise , not managerial ability or operational acumen. Our Elections are popularity contests, electing people who are not ready for the big show. Consequently, the system allows appointed non-manager elected officials into management and leadership positions. In essence, they are “Peter principled” ie, they are put into positions beyond their level of competence. True, the system provide for senior staff who are steep in technical knowledge and public affairs to advise elected members. Nevertheless, some out of power trips behave like cowboys or cowgirls, ie, it is their way. The elected members are prisoners of the system, the structure. Many elected members come to office with no government operational experience. Functional and well-structured District Councils, Island Councils, boards, Senate( BVI has a unicameral HoA), etc would facilitate getting some experience. . In the the UK, Canada, Australia, Barbados, etc, people don’t come off the street and become PM; they have to work their way up the ladder, serving in lower level positions of increasing responsibilities.

                Moreover, public service is a noble profession. But it is not for the ill-prepared, faint of heart, those that always want to be loved and admired or for those who think it just requires a little common sense and acumen. Why people do it?? There are a myriad of reasons. However, many do it for psychic income, ie, helping people individually and collectively .

                [Lets lead like eagles, not careen off the cliffs like buffaloes]
                • @E&B (16/06/2023, 09:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
                  @E&B, psychic income for BVI workers, especially public sector worker. Really!!!! Most BVI workers left that income on the table.
        • Manjack (13/06/2023, 16:57) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
          E. Leonard, mai meh son, this is an ambitious but vital plan which may not see the light of day, for the current ineffective budget allocation process. Government will never have all the resources to do all the things that needs to get done. Consequently, in order to deliver the best services to the most people, government must maximize budget efficiency. Again, maximize budget efficiency. Government must commit to delivering positive outcomes within its budgetary limit.
          • @Manjack (13/06/2023, 20:20) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
            @Manjack, a post worthy of being embraced and adopted and government taken note of. It is a free, priceless piece of advice.
        • NPolitico (14/06/2023, 16:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
          @ E. Leonard, good read. But if I may I will the following word:Priority, Priority, Priority. You can do anything you want but you cannot do everything you want.
    • Concern Citizen (15/06/2023, 15:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are correct. If the station East End was equipped the fire would not have spread to the Davis home. The fire originally started as a bush fire which spread to the near by coconut tress and the wooden house then unto the Davis next door. The Davis house would have been saved.
  • @jokes (12/06/2023, 14:07) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Lots of people call the fire department if they are going to burn stuff in their yard. It is highly recommended that you do . Many times persons see smoke and call the fire dept. When they go it was just controlled burning. If that person who set the fire had let the department know they wouldn't have had to waste time going to the site. The Fire dept will also update you on the procedure for controlled burning such as having a connected hose etc. Get educated and do the right thing.
    • @ “@jokes” (12/06/2023, 17:06) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply

      We in the lower Great Mountain area have been INCONVENIENCED by Shabazz area for years constantly burning all before 7am at times and several times a week stinking up our homes.

  • Be responsible? (12/06/2023, 14:36) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Don't burn stuff on your land if you live in a neighborhood!
  • 250,000 DOLLARS (12/06/2023, 15:00) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Good advice (12/06/2023, 15:13) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thank you Hon Marlon Penn. I agree with the comment that the burning need to be banned for now since the place is too hot. If it is a mosquito issue, let us get the scheduled fume spraying back on. Canada is experiencing all kinds of wild fires as we speak. I even think some of the dryer places should be hosed down in a strategic way with water from time to time or else that is where we may be heading.
  • stups (12/06/2023, 16:30) Like (2) Dislike (8) Reply
    One person died wtf is this man talking about??? Partna you open your trap too soon without knowing the full story.
    • Hmm (15/06/2023, 15:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You need to shut your trap every one that orginated from that neighbour hood had a good feeling that there was a grate possibility the man was in there. Including the minister for he was his in-laws. Because of the callasp house and nails and exposed items we were prevented from searching in the night without lights and proper proctetive gears hence the reason they cam back. So you who didn't know nothing is the one who need to STFup.
  • R.i.P (12/06/2023, 18:08) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    "No physical injuries"
    Someone died!!!
    • Hush (13/06/2023, 15:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Not even the police knew someone had died. The jest of this though is too burn responsibly. What he said applies before the fire, in the midst of the fire and after the fire. Move on. My condolences to the family and friends
  • Teacher (13/06/2023, 06:40) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    Marlon is a waste for the east. I say it before and I’ll say it again. He just making statement with no empathy. Typical guy struck down from reality.
  • Ne Timeas (14/06/2023, 16:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    If there is a silver lining, if any, in this unfortunate property fire which resulted in a death, it is that this commentary started in response to the fire but morphed into an instructive discussion on management, and effective budgeting.

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