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Modern day slavery in SVG’s Police Force?


Tue, Aug 21, 2012

Editor: When some people are given some power, they often think that the power vested in them is to be used the destroy the lives of others. This should not be so.{{more}} I believe such persons should use those powers to improve the lives and conditions of others, and to make things better for the people around them.

I hate it very much when I see such persons use their power in a negative way. It hurts me to the core. I always believe that we should do unto others what we would want them to do to us. As a matter of fact, this is what the Bible teaches. But, sad to say, there are those who like to dish out to others, things that they won’t want anyone to dish out to them.

Imagine in this blessed land of ours, in our police force, in my opinion, there is modern day slavery going on and it seems as though no one wants to speak out about it.

Six years ago, a constable was promoted to act in the rank of corporal in our police force and up to this day he has not been confirmed into that rank. This is a wicked act by our current commissioner, Keith Miller, who, according to the police act, has the power to promote to the rank of corporal and sergeants.

If anyone has a different view to Mr Miller, he thinks that you are against him, all because you don’t see things the way he sees them. If he tells you that the sea water is blue and you tell him: “No, sir, the sea water is not blue; it only looks so because it takes on the colour of the sky” Mr Miller will get vex with you. In his mind he will think that you are against him. And once this happens you can consider yourself doomed.

This young man is suffering for all these years all because he has a different view on things to what Mr Miller has.

When one is acting in the rank of corporal or sergeant, one does not get any incentive for the post. So, what does this mean? It means that they are doing the work of a higher rank, but get the pay of the rank below. So, imagine you are in this man’s place, working in the force for over 22 years and for six of those years you have been acting as a corporal, having been given the responsibility of that rank, but when the month ends you are getting a constable’s salary. How would you feel?

No one should be acting in those ranks for so long and not be confirmed into the rank. I think one should be given a stipend for doing such work. This is a willful and spiteful act by the Commissioner of Police and it is high time this foolishness be stopped. There is nothing wrong with promoting a man to act in a particular rank, but this is done for a reason. When a member of the force of a rank above a constable retires from the police force, this person usually has a certain amount of vacation days leave, so he will go on pre-retirement leave. During such time there will obviously be a vacancy for that rank in the establishment, but it will not be able to be filled right away, because the person on leave is still being paid for his vacation days. However, someone will now be promoted in an acting capacity to fill that vacancy left by that retiring officer. Depending on the rank of the retiree there will be a number of persons down the ranks who will be promoted to act. For example, just recently, Superintendent of Police Straker retired, so down the line you will have about six persons being promoted to act. When his leave ceases, then those persons so acting in the various ranks should be confirmed into the ranks, thus opening up a vacancy for a new entrant into the force.

What Mr Miller has been doing for the years since he has been commissioner of police, is to promote people to the ranks of corporal and sergeant and have them acting for years. By this action he is creating a false vacancy at the bottom rank which cannot be filled. When a constable has been promoted to act as a corporal, a vacancy is then created for a new police constable. But until he is confirmed into that rank the vacancy created cannot be filled. No wonder they can hardly find constables to cover the beats.

This action can be considered bad management of the human resources in the organization. And to have these hard-working young men acting in these ranks for so long can be considered as an act of slavery.

I am calling on the powers that be to look into the plight of this young man and others in the force who are suffering the same fate and try to put and end to this wicked act.

To the Police Welfare Association, I am calling on you to take this matter up with the Minister of National Security, seeing that you are prohibited from questioning the commissioner on matters pertaining to promotion. My suggestion to you is to try and see if you can have the Act which gives the commissioner the power to promote amended and shared with the other four top ranking officers. There shall be a promotional board which will consist of the commissioner of police, the deputy commissioner of police and the three assistant commissioners of police, and shall be responsible for the first two promotions of members of the force. This, I believe, will eliminate the one man-ism and members will have a better and more even field to dwell on when it comes to promotion.

Remember you were instrumental in taking away that power with regard to the fifty years retirement Act, if you were below the rank of sergeant.

I must take this time to remind you that as a Welfare Association, you have power in your numbers; use it to bring about some improvement in the force, not to destroy it. And like one Commissioner always used to say, “Your P is for police not politician.”