An update on our I-Team story about a ladder truck the City of Hartford thought it was donating to its Sister City of Morant Bay in Jamaica back in 2008. The ladder truck never made it there. It has been a “Where’s Waldo?” search of sorts to find out where it in fact is. At first sources told us it was at an airport, across the island nation from Morant Bay. Then the shipper of the ladder truck, The Caribbean Trade Council of Hartford, said it was being kept in Portmore, Jamaica, where it was being used for training.
Now former Hartford Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson, who is very involved in the Capitol City’s West Indian community, is weighing in. Airey-Wilson went on Facebook, quoting Jamaican press reports and posting pictures indicating the ladder truck was in Jamaica’s Capitol City of Kingston yesterday, saving people caught in a high rise hotel fire.
That appears to be the case. Jamaican Fire Brigade documents obtained by Eyewitness News this afternoon indicate the ladder truck is being kept in Waterford, which is in Portmore, in the St. Catherine’s Parish, mostly for training, but also as a reserve truck for high-rise rescues. The documents went on to say that the truck was deemed unsuitable for Morant Bay primarily because of its size…where it would serve an area of mostly single story homes and narrow streets.
The issue remains why it took years for this information to get to City Hall, which was in the process of sending a pumper truck to Morant Bay, until the I-Team, and the blog “WeThePeopleHartford” (http://wethepeoplehartford.blogspot.com/) started asking the tough questions.
For a while, this got the president of the company responsible for the shipping of the first firetruck in hot water with the city. Andrew Lawrence is not only president of the Caribbean Trade Council of Hartford. He is also a Hartford Police sergeant. The HPD launched an investigation into Lawrence around the time of our report, and according to the documents we have just acquired, it “does not appear” any criminal action occurred involving Sgt. Lawrence.
Now the question is if, and when, Hartford will send a pumper truck to Morant Bay, and if, and when, it will receive it. We will keep you posted.