AMIDST allegations of financial improprieties and corruption within the Guyana Fire Service, Fire Chief, Kalamadeen Edoo, has been sent on pre-retirement leave.
Officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed that the Fire Chief, who reaches the age of retirement in June, is currently under investigation.
Reports are that an audit into the Guyana Fire Service also unearthed a number of concerning financial issues.
The Fire Chief, earlier this week, had met with Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, and Permanent Secretary, Mae Toussaint Jr. Thomas, over the financial issues highlighted in an audit report.
In October, 2021, the Fire Chief was also sent on leave, days after a disastrous fire ravaged the Brickdam Police Station and destroyed over 80 per cent of the property.
One official at the Home Affairs Ministry noted that the Fire Chief’s management of the Fire Service has been under the microscope over the past few months.
Edoo only took over the reins of the Guyana Fire Service in February 2021, when former Fire Chief, Marlon Gentle, retired after 36 years of service.
Last October, President Dr. Irfaan Ali called for an independent investigation into the action taken by the fire service to control the Brickdam Police Station blaze.
President Ali, during a visit to St. Stanislaus College, where the operations of the station were temporarily housed, described the fire service’s response as “poor, at its best.”
He said that a lot more could have been done by the fire service to control the blaze and potentially prevent the destruction of several sections of the police station.
The Head of State, in his comments, said that the government has been making significant investments in the fire service in a bid to equip it to effectively respond to threats of fires across the country. He said those investments were not reflected in the fire service’s actions.
“We have been making tremendous investment in the last year in the fire service and I have made this very clear [that] in this country, people would have to be held accountable for their actions.
“We can’t be making investments in state apparatus and state institutions and do not get the results from those investments. The response of the fire service was poor at its best yesterday, and as President, I hope the fire service can acknowledge this,” President Ali had said.
The President had instructed Minister Benn to assemble a special team to investigate the performance of the service.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to tackle inadequate and inefficient performance in the public sector.
“This fire, this is less than a three minutes’ walk to our main fire station. We cannot continue as a country and as a people to not address these issues. We cannot continue to make investments and not have the returns on the investments, whether it’s in the public service, in the hospitals, the inefficiency has to be weeded out,” President Ali said.