Training for more than 100 recruits seeking to be enlisted into the Police Service has been suspended till Wednesday.
Sources told the Sunday Express that training was due to commence last Monday at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre but was put on hold due to what were described as unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.
The recruits were sent home while
efforts are being made to ensure the facilities are safe for training.
Sources say the TTPS is renting
the facilities and the onus is on it to ensure the facility meets its standards.
Sources added the St James Barracks “is not adequate” for training, and the recruits, especially those who came from Tobago, were displaced due to a lack of beds at the barracks.
Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, when contacted yes-
terday afternoon, confirmed training had been suspended.
He said: “I actually went down to the centre on Thursday and I sent the trainees home until Wednesday.”
Told by the Sunday Express of complaints by recruits and reports which suggested the place was
“run-down”, the top cop said: “The
place is not run-down. We did exten-
sive refurbishments of the facili-
ties. This facility has been effectively utilised, firstly by the Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT) for training and then training for regional officers.”
He said the relocation to the Chaguaramas facility saw the service moving from non-residential to residential training.
“So we had to create a dormitory-type setting,” Williams said.
Sources complained recruits were also advised against drinking water at the Chaguaramas facility.
Williams said at the start of training, a decision was taken to use bottled water for drinking, however, some of the recruits used the tap water for drinking and became ill.
“I have engaged 3,000-gallon tanks
and in order for them to be installed, I had to send (recruits) home,” he said.
Sources told the Sunday Express there were other problems such as a non-functioning air-conditioning unit, electrical interruptions and recruits getting sick from the scent of bird droppings.
President of the Police Social and Welfare Association Insp Anand Ramesar, in an interview with the Sunday Express, said his association was aware of the unsafe conditions under which the
recruits have been exposed.
He said the association was told by the hierarchy of the service that within five days, all concerns would be addressed.
He said in the interim, the recruits have been sent home.
“It’s shameful to know this. This did not happen overnight. It’s months now you had this facility and months in which to prepare. This did not happen yesterday,” Ramesar said.
He added: “For a Police Service which enjoys so much money coming out from the budget, we have been asking where the money spending. I have my representative out there looking into the matter, and we were prepared to withdraw our members completely, but I think the request for five days to clean up is reasonable, and if it doesn’t meet our satisfaction, we will tell our members not to occupy that building.”
Ramesar said his association will inspect the building this week to ensure all concerns were addressed.