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Protective services happy with $1,000 boost for all

By Denyse Renne denyse.renne@trinidadexpress.com

MEMBERS OF the protective services are welcoming a new $1,000 tax-free allocation announced in yesterday's 2011-2012 budget.

Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran, who presented the budget, said the special allowance of $1,000 per month for officers of the Police Service which was introduced in the last budget would this year be extended to other members of the Protective Service.

Speaking with the Express shortly after the budget presentation, president of the Prisons Services Association, Rajkumar Ramroop, said apart from his officers receiving the tax-free allowance of $1,000, he was happy to hear that housing and other matters were addressed.

"We are very optimistic that other areas in the budget would benefit prison officers, such as the Land for Landless policy, greater opportunities for home ownership, the T&T Mortgage Finance Company reduced rates and also the 2 per cent subsidy interest rates for Housing Development Company (HDC) homes."

"We are happy to see the job evaluation exercise in the budget which has the potential of bringing prison officers salary to the market value," Ramroop said, adding that he expected in the coming week to hold discussions with the Minister in the Ministry of National Security Collin Partap "to concretise these plans".

President of the Fire Services Association Charles Ramsaroop said: "We believe that the $1,000 tax-free allowance will go a long way at motivating officers, since they felt, they were at the bottom of the National Security food chain," Ramsaroop said.

Public relations officer of the Defence Force Captain Al Alexander said the Coast Guard, Regiment and Air Guard are indeed happy to hear about the allocation.

"We were expecting it, based on a promise made by government and I know the Chief of Defence Staff would advise that the funds be invested and used wisely," Alexander said.

President of the Police Social and Welfare Association Sgt Anand Ramesar, when contacted, said: "I am happy with respect to the allocation and happy for the other arms of law enforcement who will receive the allowance."

Ramesar said that despite this, he remained disappointed with the failure to apply the $1,000 allowance to Transit and Special Reserve Police officers.

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