Below is a notice from the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Welfare Association (PWA) to its members regarding possible salary adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The notice was posted on the PWA’s Facebook page on Monday, April 20:
Dear members: As promised, we the executive of the PWA remain committed to providing the members of all updates relating to the position on salary adjustments during the period of COVID-19 pandemic.
As previously stated, the PWA was resolute in its stance on accepting no cuts or deferments to salaries at this juncture. This position was reiterated to the government representatives, including Honourable Stephenson King, Minister for Infrastructure, Ports Energy and Labour and Chairman of Cabinet Sub Committee on Labour.
The PWA was then and remains of the view that the government, by way of the aforementioned representative, had not presented the association with pertinent facts relating to its inability to meet salary commitments, in order to make an informed decision on behalf of the membership on salary adjustments.
One key question posed by the association was the current financial standing, including governmental expenditure, which would render the government incapable of meeting its financial obligation to staff. This has not been presented to the association to date, leaving the PWA no choice than to remain steadfast in its position.
The PWA is now in receipt of a letter, signed by Honourable Stephenson King, indicating that “…as we are about to exhaust the mandate for which we were first convened…” which is in no way a shared sentiment. The letter goes on to state that he has forwarded the outcomes of our meetings to Cabinet… “to allow the Minister for Finance to formulate and present a plan of action to all stakeholders concerned…”
The minister, in his letter, recognized and commended the efforts of officers during this pandemic, but as the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words!” In a period where police officers are asked to give more of themselves, sacrifice even quality of life, the PWA believes this is not the time to impose severe financial constraints on its members.
We understand that even in the current state of emergency, the prime minister has the authority to legislate salaries. With the sitting of Parliament being tomorrow, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, this may become a sad reality for our members.
We remain resolute in the fight to maintain the financial security of our members; we have not remained home and continue to work tirelessly to create a safer environment for all people in Saint Lucia.