National Focus

Police Staff Association executive critical of govt.

by: Sharell Lockhart, News Reporter

Police Staff Association (PSA) Senior Deputy Chairman Corey Damianos laments the working environment of officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

In a recent exclusive interview with The Freeport News, Damianos revealed that Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) officers are completely unhappy with working in "pauperized" conditions.

According to Damianos, the morale of officers across The Bahamas has dropped to an all-time low due to a list of serious concerns and grievances that directly affects productivity.

" For years, police officers have had to work under poor conditions, which is beyond frustrating and quite a vast number of promises have made by the government to rectify these situations. Unfortunately, not a single one has been met.

" Daily, officers are forced to operate police cars that are not covered by proper insurance. In fact, all the vehicles have Third-Party Car Insurance coverage.

" Most of the cars are valued between $20,000 to $50,000 and should an officer in the execution of his duties, decide to pursue an offender of the law and become involved in an accident, that officer is financially responsible to repair any and all damages.

" We are fed up with that maltreatment received as well as being made to tap into our limited resources to pay for damages incurred during the execution of our duties. This is the sole responsibility of the Bahamas Government,"  Damianos said.

Additionally, the PSA deputy chairman noted another major grievance of officers pertain to injury in the line of duty. She alleged that should the recovery period surpass the 28 scheduled sick-days, an automatic 25 percent salary reduction is incurred.

Damianos claims also that the complete lack of communication between the government and officers, many of whom, take home salaries that do not make them remotely eligible to qualify for a housing loan, has also proven to be a bone of contention that officers cannot ignore.

" Add to this, there is taxation after taxation being imposed upon the Bahamian people further adding to our financial burdens. You will find quite a few officers are crumbling under the pressure of it all.

" Every day we are told that we must put aside our personal stress, put on our uniforms and serve the people of The Bahamas in top form with a smile.

" There is no one looking out for officers. No one is concerned about stress factors we endure and we have to broaden our shoulders to carry the weight of protecting the country and maintaining our families.

" Policies are being blatantly violated by our leaders. Yet officers continue to carry out their duties in good faith and we are calling on those in authority to do their jobs and take care of us, the internal customers, so we can do our job, which is serving the external customers, who are the citizenry of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,"  declared Damianos.

Recently, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Bahamas Customs and Immigration officers joined RBPF officers in New Providence as they participated in the Bahamas National Citizens Co-Alliance "Walk for Hope" event designed to get the attention of the Ministry of National Security and the Bahamas Government regarding their concerns.

All the officers wore green during the march, which Damianos said represents strength and unity.

" We certainly hope those in authority would take us seriously and that the Bahamian public would understand that like them, we too are suffering and are being forced to endure a plethora of injustices.

" We are not being paid for our professional qualifications such as; having five BGCSEs with Grade C and above despite this being the main criteria to gain entry into the RBPF.

" A Bachelor's Degree we are told would be paid for by the public service however, once applications for salary increases are delivered to personnel responsible for this to occur, officers are sent letters stating due to financial reasons their applications are deferred and no other form of communication is given to the applicant informing them when a date would be given for their application to be reconsidered.

" Officers are being placed in precarious positions,"  she continued.

The PSA executive demands that the government acts soon and addresses the concerns.

 

Published Monday, March 23, 2015

 

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