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CFPWA did not follow correct procedure – PM

CFPWA did not follow  correct procedure – PM

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In addition to issuing a factually inaccurate statement, the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) did not follow correct procedure in asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

This is the position of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, which he communicated yesterday, during an interview on We FM.

The Prime Minister’s statement comes one day after the CFPWA said in a press release that a request they made to see Gonsalves on Wednesday had been denied because of “inconvenience”.

The team said their visit to SVG was occasioned by “the recent developments” with some members of the SVG Police Welfare Association (PWA) and their main purpose for being here was to meet with the Prime Minister and the Commissioner of Police to “get an amicable appreciation of the issue at hand and together determine how best the matter can be resolved.”

On July 17, three members of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force were transferred to rural police stations, after threats were made in a voice note to “storm” the Office of the Prime Minister because of delays

by the authorities in responding to requests of the PWA.

While attorney for the PWA Israel Bruce said the voice note should not be interpreted as a threat on the Prime Minister’s life, Commissioner of Police Renold Hadaway said the matter is being investigated to determine whether charges should be brought against the officers, or if they should be disciplined.

“Earlier today 2nd August, 2017 members of the Federation reached out to the Prime Minister via telephone soliciting a meeting with him. This request was denied, the reason being ‘inconvenience’,” the release from the CFPWA said.

They, however, said they are optimistic that the Prime Minister will “change his decision and allow policing issues that are important to his men and women as well as police officers in the

wider Caribbean to be worthy of his time and consideration, thus allowing the Federation to mediate on behalf of its members.”

Gonsalves, however, said that when contact was made with his office on Wednesday requesting a meeting, he was just about to meet with his Cabinet for their usual weekly meeting.

“When I was going to the Cabinet my secretary said to me about 15 minutes ago [someone from the local PWA] called me requesting a meeting with this group of persons from the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Association.

“…You can’t just descend on a Prime Minister. The first thing I asked my executive secretary is ‘When are they leaving?’ They said they are leaving on Thursday. I just simply told her it not convenient,” the Prime Minister said.

Gonsalves said the CFPWA, in saying they “reached out” to him, gives the impression that they had spoken to him.

He also said besides the fact that he was called at the last minute, the CFPWA should have written to him to say what they want to meet about.

“If you want to meet about the thing about storming the office of the Prime Minister I can’t meet you on that for two basic reasons. First of all, in all the circumstances I would expect first an apology about storming the office of the Prime Minister…”

In addition to the apology, Gonsalves said the Commissioner is considering internal disciplinary proceedings against the police officers and he cannot be seen to be trying to influence the process one way or the other or engaging in any discussion on the matter.

The Prime Minister said the other grievances of the PWA, such as the absence of a fridge or a stove, leave or allowances for officers were matters for the Permanent Secretary, the Commissioner of Police and the Director General of Finance and Planning.

“Those are the way how you sort these things. You can’t just land in the country… I don’t know why you want to meet me.

“Do you want to talk to me about the issues of crime or law and order in the Caribbean? If that is so, set a meeting, I would welcome, but it would have to be properly prepared, and you wouldn’t want to have that discussion only with me, you’d want to have that discussion with the technical people across the region…,” Gonsalves said.

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