Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Williams suspends police training

Reports of ‘run-down’ facilities...

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.