Sunday, February 18, 2018

Police mix-up delays $1,000 allowance for SRPs

Officers still waiting after Govt promise 3 months ago


Flashback August 2012: A police officer monitors a line of people who turned up for the SRP recruitment drive at the Police Academy in St James. —Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

(BI) Feedloader User

Special Reserve Police officers (SRPs) who were promised a $1,000 duty allowance by the Government three months ago are still waiting to get the benefit.

Secretary of the Police Social and Welfare Association Sgt Michael Seales confirmed this last week but said the delay was due to a mix-up in the process to determine who among the 1,500-strong association will benefit from the allowance.

The allowance is currently being paid to regular police officers.

"The allowance is intended for persons who are working full time," Seales said, adding the association is to meet with acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams soon to rectify the matter.

"We have our monthly meeting with the CoP and ought to have met last Monday, but the president was out of the country and we did not meet."

He said the matter was high on the agenda for discussion.

The meeting is expected to take place tomorrow.

"My info is that there is a group of full-time SRPs who have already been paid, but I don't know how many persons have benefited to date," he admitted.

Seales said while a decision had been reached as to the payment of the allowance to the full-time SRPs, "we have not yet determined who else can benefit".

He said the association represented only a fraction of the 1,500 SRPs, and all SRPs believed they ought to be paid, but this is not the case.

It was last July that the association's president, Sgt Anand Ramesar, raised the issue of the $1,000 allowance with National Security Minister Jack Warner.

The suggestion found favour, and budgetary allocations were made for the measure in the October 2012 National Budget in Parliament.

During a media briefing following the meeting at the association's headquarters at the Besson Street Police Station in Port of Spain last July, Warner said he saw no need to continue the discrimination against giving the SRPs the special allowance.

"They (the association) have asked, and I have agreed that there should be no discrimination against giving the SRPs the $1,000 a month," Warner had said.

At that time, Warner also indicated it was discussed that SRPs should be divided into two categories—full-time and part-time officers.

Seales told the Sunday Express a committee was formed comprising representatives from various organisations where the SRPs functioned, including Parliament, and recommendations were tabled to the acting Commissioner.

"It's a bit difficult to sort out due to the erratic manner in which the SRPs work."

And while Warner felt that SRPs should not be treated with bias, it was only two months ago that SRPs lost their case to be recognised as equals with regular police officers.

The Court of Appeal on October 31 dismissed the claim of 592 past and present SRPs who had accused the State of discrimination by failing to equate their terms and conditions of service with those of regular officers in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

The SRPs had complained they performed the same or equal work when compared to members of the TTPS of equivalent rank but did not receive equal benefits.