Crimefighters are unrewarded and underpaid.
That is the current plight of police officers, says president of the Barbados Police Association (BPA), Mervin Grace.
Speaking at the BPA’s annual general meeting yesterday, Grace said apart from not being rewarded for their sterling contributions, police officers had not received a salary increase in almost ten years.
However, he promised in the coming year officers would be demanding a wage increase.
With Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith present, Grace called for the two issues to be rectified immediately, and later Griffith conceded there was no excuse for not rewarding the officers.
“Police officers have earned their dues and as much as we are getting the accommodations, getting the tools, it is high time they are granted a salary increase.
“It is almost a decade since the members have had a salary increase. We shall cease requesting and start demanding our just due,” Grace said.
“We give of our best each day with no added remunerations or allowances, and therefore the year ahead will be one of demands for better remuneration and allowances for the rank and file of the RBPF.”
As it related to the issue of rewarding officers, he said several officers had retired without being honoured.
“Over the past years, the executive committee has noticed that there is a serious decline in observing rewards and rewarding the excellent work members of the rank and file of the Barbados Police Force have been doing.
“The issue of awards and commendations has taken a serious nosedive. We are aware that recommendations were made for members to be awarded the Barbados Service Medal. The Barbados Service Medal for 2014 and 2015, we are aware these medals were applied for, were approved, and to this day have not yet been issued to members of the police force,” Grace revealed.
“We are aware that none were applied for in 2016 and to date we are not aware if any have been applied for in 2017. This is an indictment that needs to be rectified immediately. Some members of the force whose names appear in the list have since retired and have not received their service medals to date…for their long and loyal service to this beloved country.”
In his brief remarks, Griffith admitted that there “really was no excuse for not rewarding the work of officers.”
He however explained that due to the volume, they had encountered some difficulties in sourcing the medals.
The top cop said an event needed to be held where the force could award its staff.
“We obviously need to have a function that we can address some of the good work being done by our men and women, and a lot of good work has been done,” Griffith said.
The Attorney General also agreed with Grace that not enough was being done to recognise the contribution made by officers.
“. . . Sadly, I must agree to a large extent with Mr Grace, notwithstanding the comments of the Commissioner, that we really need to do better in recognising the work of the members of the force.
“I have been Attorney General now from since 2010 and I cannot actually remember any formal ceremony recognising the contribution of members . . . we need to find a mechanism to do better,” he said. (RB)