The President of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association, Inspector Anand Ramesar, says the discussion on the contentious issue of police promotions is being unnecessarily delayed by the Acting Police Commissioner’s inability to respond in a timely manner.
He said the Acting Commissioner had agreed to review the document in four days. However, it’s now been over four months and he is yet to respond.
“There is very little hope in relation to the Commissioner of Police taking the initiative to resolve the promotion. When we look at what would have happened over the last couple of months, the Association would have met with the Commissioner on several occasions and during those meetings, we would have made recommendations and we would have adjusted the recommendations based on discussions between the Commissioner and ourselves to the point where we felt we would have come to a concluded position, where both parties would had agreed to.”
Inspector Ramesar noted that well over 3,000 Second Division police officers are awaiting promotion: 1,500 from Constable to Corporal, 1,000 from Corporal to Sergeant, a few hundred from Sergeant to Inspector and a few officers from Inspector to Acting Superintendent.
“For the Constable to Corporal, the last assessment was in 2008. For the Sergeant, it was 2010. For the Inspector, we had it over 2012 and 2013, but you had an administrative error again by the Commissioner of Police which the Commissioner took a position: you all need to take it to court if you are challenging it.”
The Association said it last met with Acting Commissioner Williams and the National Security Minister a few months ago and made its recommendations for promotions for Second Division officers.
“From the time we met he would have said he wanted four days, it’s almost four months that has elapsed and the Commissioner has not yet responded. When we look at what would have been the problems in the Second Division in terms of the matters that have gone to court, the Commissioner of Police is nothing short of a repeat offender as it relates to bad decisions in promotions.”
Inspector Ramesar said the issue of outstanding promotions has demotivated and disenchanted the membership, especially since there were recent promotions for First Division officers.
Inspector Ramesar is calling on the Police Service Commission to intervene.
“The Police Service Commission is not doing its job properly in terms of measuring the performance of the Commissioner of Police in relation to how he is managing his human resource and you cannot have this level of disenchantment existing in the Second Division where the bulk of the membership there is actually 5,000 police officers.”
In response, Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams told C News via telephone that the claim of outstanding promotions for 3,000 police officers is outlandish.
He said he noticed comments being made in the public by the Association over the past few weeks, but not once has the Association made an effort to meet with him.
Acting Commissioner Williams said he will make arrangements to meet Inspector Ramesar and the Executive of the Association to iron out the matter.
Meanwhile, Attorney at Law, Martin George, a Commissioner with the Police Service Commission, acknowledged that the process for promotions in the Police Service is cumbersome and unwieldy.
He said to be fair to the Police Commissioner, it is not a problem that can be solved overnight. However, there certainly are steps that could be taken to start to alleviate the problem.
“I have suggested to him that he ought to consider that if it’s one thing he should try to leave as his legacy in the Police Service, is to try to resolve the issue of promotions because for too long it has dogged the Police Service and of course, it is a contributor to the deteriorating morale in the Service and the issues where police officers feel demotivated and they feel that their work is not appreciated.”
Mr. George confirmed that the Police Service Commission is currently undergoing an assessment of the Police Commissioner.
The assessment will be completed before the end of July and will be made available to the public.