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Threats made to ‘storm’ the Office of the Prime Minister

Threats made to ‘storm’ the Office of the Prime Minister

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Three members of the executive of the Police Welfare Association (PWA) have been transferred to the furthest ends of the country.

The transfers came into effect yesterday, just days after threats were made to “storm” the Office of the Prime Minister because of delays by the authorities in responding to the requests of the PWA.

Head of the PWA Sergeant Brenton Smith, who was based at the Central Police Station as one of the non-commissioned officers in charge of Beat and Patrol, has been transferred to Union Island; Constable Kenroy Martin, who also worked in Beat and Patrol, has been transferred to Chateaubelair, while Constable Jeremain Roberts, who was stationed at the Port Authority, has been transferred to Owia.

The three officers were informed of their new assignments yesterday, reportedly after a meeting between Commissioner of Police Renold Hadaway and Sergeant Smith.

SEARCHLIGHT confirmed the transfers late Monday, days after three voice notes surfaced, which are said to have originated in a Whatsapp chat group of the executive of the PWA.

In one of the voice notes, a male voice lists several grievances of the PWA, particularly a delay by the Commissioner in responding to a request by the PWA executive to meet with him.

“I am totally hurt as to the response from the authorities. We have written to the Prime Minister and he responded saying that a meeting would be set up with members of the Government side. However, no date was given. That, to me, is a way to get away from meeting with us,” one male voice said.

The speaker then refers to a fridge, seemingly in response to a comment by one ‘Roberts’.

“Roberts in regard to the fridge, yes, I think we need to write to the authorities, as a back-up and strengthen it. We are not going to give away any fridge; we are not going to give away any stove; we must put pressure on the authorities to do their part, so that is what I am supporting of.”

The same speaker then lists transport, the establishment of a leave committee and insurance for police officers as matters they had written the Commissioner about and have had no response.

“I am going to write him strongly. I am going to copy it to the Minister of National Security,” the male voice said.

“…One of the things I was thinking today that we must be so angry that we must storm the Prime Minister’s Office, all executive members, no authority; we not asking nobody permission to go; we going over there,” the male voice said.

In another voice note, the same voice again mentions storming the Office of the Prime Minister.

“This must hit the news, it must hit the news and it must hit it hard, that the Welfare Association stormed the Prime Minister’s Office for matters that have not been addressed.”

The male voice referred to in both voice notes has been identified by several persons as that of Sergeant Smith, but SEARCHLIGHT has not independently confirmed this.

In the third voice note, another male voice, identified by multiple sources as that of Constable Martin, said he too was upset by the lack of response from the authorities.

“They have not sent us a response; they have not done anything in respect of the police force; the situations are deteriorating; they are getting worse by the day, and the circumstances are way beyong our control and the organization’s control. It is time enough for us to get up out of our seats, drink our coffees, and let’s get to work. It is time enough. We have done more than six months of waiting; we can’t wait any longer….”

SEARCHLIGHT has not independently confirmed that the speaker was Martin.

The speaker continued: “…This is it, I have reached my boiling point; this is time for us to do what we have to do as an executive. Let’s start to do what we are supposed to do. Carnival is finished and this is time for us to get down to serious business. By the time you wink, it is Christmas again and nothing could be done. The financial year is almost over; fellas, you have to be smart and you have to think business wise. This is the time that we have to deal with these men and deal with the matters that are before us. The leave system, it needs to be changed and the conditions at the stations need to be improved. Men need to work and work comfortably and we ought to have what we ought to have as an organization and we ought to prosper, not those alone at the helm ought to prosper, but the men and women who are working on a day to day basis need to prosper as well.”

SEARCHLIGHT reached out to Smith for comment, but we were unable to reach him. We left messages, both at the office of the PWA and on his private mobile phone, but our calls were not returned.

We also tried reaching Commissioner of Police Renold Hadaway for comment, but calls to his mobile phone went unanswered.

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