By Lesroy W. Williams Observer Reporter
(Basseterre, St. Kitts)”An enquiry requested by the Government into a police ‘sick out” in September 2006 has yielded some positive results but some concerns are yet to be addressed, Public Relations Officer for the Police, Inspector Cromwell Henry has said. In 2006, the Police staged a ‘sick out” in reaction to what they considered was a poor response from the Government about issues concerning their welfare. The full report arising out of the enquiry, which was held in 2007, has not been released to the public, but it is in the hands of the Police High Command. Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Erasmus Williams, said that the full report cannot be made public because there are ‘sensitive” matters in it that concerns national security. Basically, the Police wanted better salaries and better living conditions in some police stations. According to a police source, some of the police stations are run down with leakages and rodent infestation. Since the enquiry, some allowances have been increased and new ones added. However, the Police wanted a review of their salary scale and not necessarily to be given the general salary scale review of the Civil Service, Inspector Henry said. That concern of the Police has not been addressed. There is progress in improving the living conditions in some police stations, Inspector Henry said. “Work recently began on the Police Headquarters in Basseterre but it has been slow; a new police station is being built in Dieppe Bay; some work was done to the Frigate Bay Station; a new police station is to be built in Tabernacle after the completion of the police station in Dieppe Bay; the Police in Tabernacle are temporarily housed in the Tabernacle Community Centre,” he said. “But most of the other police stations around the island are not satisfactory in their living conditions,” he added. Some of the old monthly allowances that have been incremented are the plain clothes allowance and the detective allowance.” The plain clothes and detective allowances are given to officers who do not wear uniforms such as officers of the Criminal Investigation Department. This allowance has been increased from $75.00 to $100.00. The monthly refreshment allowance for officers who are called away from their stations for more than 6 hours is $20.00. New monthly allowances include displacement allowance, instructors allowance, Canine Unit allowance, ferry allowance, proficiency allowance and responsibility allowance. The displacement allowance for police officers who live on St. Kitts and work on Nevis and vice versa is $250.00; the instructors allowance for those who are involved in the training of police is $150.00; the allowance for those who work at the Canine Unit is $150.00; the ferry allowance for those who must commute between St. Kitts and Nevis is $80.00; the proficiency allowance for those who pass their promotional elementary exams is $40.00 and for those who pass their advanced exams it is $80.00; and the responsibility allowance, which is for officers who have to be in charge of a department in the absence of the head of that department is $150.00. “Better working conditions can only redound to a more efficient and happy police force,” Inspector Henry said. At present the Police Welfare Association is defunct. “The Police Welfare Association is not properly constituted and can’t function in its current state. To function, the association needs representation from every rank within the police force and the Corporal Rank has not provided any representative,” Inspector Henry said. “The Police are shooting themselves in the foot by not having a welfare association,” he said. Many attempts have been made recently to improve relations between the public and the Police with the new strategy of community policing. At a recent press briefing of the Ministry of Finance on December 8, Deputy Financial Secretary and Budget Director, Calvin Edwards, said that more money will be allocated to the law enforcement agencies this year than in previous years. The Budget is due to be presented on December 16. A recent signing of the 10th EDF Country Strategy Paper between St. Kitts and Nevis and the European Union, which took place on December 11, promises to assist the police in training and other physical areas. The European Union, in a first phase, has donated 5.4 million Euros to the Federation. Some of this money will go towards the upgrading of the curriculum of the police training school; facilitate training in such areas as criminology, forensic science and legal studies; review staffing and recruitment policies with a view to attracting more graduates into the police force; and develop areas of special expertise by facilitating specialized training at recognized regional and international institutions. Some of the money is also to be spent on improvement of the police infrastructure.
Some Concerns of Police Addressed Others Not
By Lesroy W. Williams Observer Reporter