“I will acknowledge that about two weeks ago I did receive a letter from the president of the Police Welfare Association, it was difficult to respond immediately since we were in the centre of carnival preparation and he needed to be patient because, to me and the executive carnival had to be given precedence.
It is the biggest operational event for the police on the yearly calendar and it’s our responsibility to police this event effectively, efficiently and as best as possible incident free.
Although I don’t want to pick a fight with the President since we must work together in harmony for the well-being of the men and women in the force so they can perform at their maximum, I believe he is being unreasonable and unfair in his assertions and he should help mend the organisational wounds.
Let us visit the facts.
I became officer in charge of the organization as of the 9th of March when the Commissioner proceeded on vacation leave. This means that the Commissioner still retained most of his powers and I had to consult with him on many policy issues. I still held this position even after the Prime Minister’s address on the IMPACS report when I had the Press Conference under the theme, Reassurance in the face of trying times”, I continued my responsibilities as the Deputy until I was appointed Acting Commissioner on the 23rd of March.
Between that time and today has been a little over three months since I am the Acting Commissioner. With the guidance of the Executive and senior officers we have been able to restore a level of stability to the organization amidst all the uncertainty surrounding it within this short space of time and even today.
According to the Police Act the present Welfare association terms and conditions expired as of the end of March this year and elections were supposed to have been called to elect new branch boards for which the Executive can work from.
To date, after several meetings with the President, a new Executive has not been elected. Yes I can understand that the law makes provisions for the old Executive to hold office until a new one is in place but it still raises the issue of the President’s mandate, realistically, who is he really providing representation for? It was only two days ago in a reminder letter I was informed that a team had been selected to look into elections but no date to that effect.
These are the issues highlighted by the President in his letter received on the 2nd of June:
1. Soufriere Police Station
4. Special Police Constables
5. Senior constables
I have been a member of the executive for a little over 4 years and even during the tenure of this President and I have never been summoned to an executive meeting with the Welfare by Commissioner Francois. Why all of a sudden within three months these demands are being made? I am not saying that I will not meet the Welfare in due time since we must create that work synergy.
The Executive, Gazetted officers and Inspectors have worked acidulously to formulate a 2015/2016 Crime Strategy for the organization which was operationalized as of July 1st . As of the end of March counselling has been made available to police officers. There is a process to be followed since we are a government department. My preference would be to have our own within because of the barrage of problems police officers are faced with on a daily basis.
We can say with much confidence that we had a very safe and Major Incident free carnival. Is this by accident?
Within a period of 3 months we are ready to promote 27 Constables to Corporals, 11 Corporals to Sergeants and 4 Sergeants to Inspectors. All of whom have been successful in the last promotion process. I need to say bravo and congratulations to all.
The recent bug problem at the CID has been dealt with in less than three weeks. Why is that not said? A request has been made through our Ministry to the Ministry of Health to see whether assistance can be extended to the residents of CID Officers.
I am prepared and will always work with the Police Welfare however, as a disciplinary organization there are procedures and guidelines to be followed through which the Association can bring matters affecting the general welfare and efficiency of police officers to the attention of the Commissioner and Governor General.
As long as I am in the chair I will continue to lead the force in the direction of satisfying the public needs in creating a safer environment and ensuring that we be held accountable for our actions at all times. Transparency will be the order of the day. Officers will swear allegiance to the public and the organization and not to me. I will ensure that we follow the guidelines, laws, procedures and policies as stated by law.
We must move forward steadfast. We need the public and they also need us. We must work together to create a tranquil environment so all can enjoy this beautiful country of ours.”