Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security the Hon. Cynthia Pratt returned to her birthplace of Mangrove Cay, Andros, on Friday, February 2, 2007, to commission the community’s first tire truck.

The commissioning ceremony, held at the Government Complex in Little Harbour, Mangrove Cay, ended 17 years of “reaching out to the community” through a series of fundraising events by members of the Mangrove Cay Fire Engine Committee.

The fire truck will be manned by a community volunteer brigade headed by Sergeant David Thompson of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. The RBPF”s Fire Services Division, headed by Assistant Superintendent of Police Jeffrey Deleveaux, provided the volunteer fire brigade with the training and technical expertise needed to operate the fire truck in a safe and efficient manner.

The committee was also assisted by the Local Government Council which matched the amount of funds raised by the committee and the Bahamas Oil Refining Company (BORCO), which helped to outfit the fire truck.

The purchase was in response to a series of tragic events that have occurred in the Mangrove Cay Community, whose residents could only stand by and watch helplessly as the Administration Offices in Peat’s was destroyed by fire; as five children perished in a house fire in Pinder’s, and yet again, as another member of the community lost his life in a fire in
Little Harbour.

Deputy Prime Minister Pratt said the purchase of the fire engine will not allow residents of Mangrove Cay to stand by helplessly and watch their homes, buildings, properties and lives destroyed by fire ever again.

She said the purchase of the fire truck, and the time the community took raising the money, showed the strength and determination of Androsians in general and Mangrovians in particular.

“We are commissioning a fire truck that was brought here by the blood, sweat and tears of the people of Mangrove Cay
and I want you to know how grateful we are in the Government for what you have done here as a community today,” she said.

“This has relieved a lot of pressure on the Government and certainly with the many islands that do need a fire truck, the resources are limited, but you have helped yourselves. And so I hope that so many other islands are watching and that
they would take pattern after Mangrove Cay,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Deputy Prime Minister Pratt said the damage fires can have on the psychological, physical, social and financial bearing
of individual families and collective communities can be far-reaching.

She said Mangrove Cay represents the fifth island on which fire engines have been commissioned. The others are Bimini, Eleuthera, Inagua and Cat Island.

“These were done through the self help of the local people and donations,” Deputy Prime Minister Pratt said. “What this demonstrates to me is that if a community can get together and raise funds for a fire truck, that those same communities
can get together to raise children; to be their brother’s keeper the way it used to be in the old days.

“The spirit of togetherness that was displayed in purchasing this fire truck and the others show our children that the adults
are concerned about the community, and so when they see your concern, they too will grow with the same attitude; having concern for the community and wanting to build the community,” she added.

Andy Bowleg, president of the Mangrove Cay Fire Engine Fundraising Committee, called the day a “proud one” for the committee and the residents of Mangrove Cay, adding that each resident of the community should “be proud and receptive
to this.”

He said while the process towards purchasing the fire truck began 17 years ago, it was one that was well worth the effort
of the community, the Local Government Council and other persons who assisted financially.

“As in many communities in our country, the destruction of property and the loss of life by fire has brought much grief and sorrow to our loved ones, and we the people of Mangrove Cay have had our share of sorrows, but this day is a significant day and I am just excited that we went about the commissioning of the truck in this way,” Mr. Bowleg said.

“By doing it this way; by doing it in this fashion, we have given the community the opportunity to see that when you come together, regardless of how big a task may be or how much it may cost, if everybody would pull together, you can get it done,” Mr. Bowleg added.