National Security Minister Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin says the concerns of policemen and women are not on the backbench as reported by the Police Welfare Association last week.
The PWA is still dissatisfied with what they say is the lack of efforts by authorities to address concerns.
In 2019 and again in 2020, the PWA took the hierarchy to task over several issues including unsanitary working conditions at police stations across the country, a lack of uniforms, accessibility to housing and lands, and medical insurance and risk allowance for officers.
They are also concerned about risk allowance and medical insurance.
But Benjamin said he is surprised at the pronouncements by the PWA since most of the issues mentioned are part of ongoing discussions with the government.
“The government appreciates the hard work that this present executive is doing on behalf of the police force. This present Welfare committee is determined to ensure that the police officer for whom they have great concerns and needs are met and they have better conditions under which to work. But the government has made significant strides in addressing the concerns expressed by the members of the committee. The government has just delivered new fire trucks after an outcry for more transportation…A fire truck was sent to Barbuda and Bicycles as well” he said.
Benjamin said the duty allowance of the police in Barbuda has also been increased following recommendations from the PWA.
“They had a meeting with the minister and we had agreed that their salaries will be adjusted but because of the economic conditions prevailing today, all of that amendment and adjustments will take place better. They are fully aware of this
He said arrangements were also made to meet with members of State Insurance who are currently involved in negotiations
“So, you see, the interests of the police department are being looked at. This government has made very prisons to satisfy the needs of this welfare association. This present association is a strong one whose actions are well recognized and observed by the government. There have been significant improvements and better work relationships,” Benjamin said
The PWA has planned a meeting in the coming days to address what they said is a lack of attention.
Corporal Sylvester George, Second Vice Chairman, made it clear that the meeting is not politically motivated