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An open letter to the PM (Why shouldn’t they grumble?)

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Fri, Aug 31, 2012

Editor: I felt a bit saddened last Monday, August 20, 2012 when I listened to you as you made that speech at the handing over ceremony of those two interceptors at the Coast guard base at Calliaqua.{{more}}

Sir, I don’t think you should have used that forum to highlight that issue with the grumbling of those police who have an issue with the decision of the government to appoint people outside the police force through the accelerated promotion policy. This is a matter that should have been discussed with the police in a meeting with them. The truth is, sir, this recent action might have triggered the grumbling, but I think that there are more reasons why they are grumbling, and to sit with them and talk things through would be the best thing to do as the Minister with responsibility for the police.

These people are human beings and it is natural for such a reaction to result when such things happen. Within the ranks, you do have grumbling when someone is promoted ahead of another. So, we should not expect any different reaction when one comes from the outside and jump over the heads of those who have been working hard and looking forward for advancement up the ranks.

Imagine a child being beaten by his mother, he is crying and she is telling him to stop the crying. He has a good reason to cry.

A gentleman was once at a funeral and he observed a man crying his heart out. Seeing this, he went across to him and asked: “You two must have been very close why you are crying so profusely?” The man replied, “I am not crying because he is dead.” “Then, why are you crying?” the gentleman asked. “Because his clothes can’t fit me,” the man replied.

You see sir, though this may sound funny, the reality is not many people you see crying at a funeral do so because the deceased was close to them. They have their own reason for crying.

And the police, I believe, have their reasons for grumbling.

I don’t support Mr Eustace and the utterances he makes at times. In my view, he is too pessimistic. He is always thinking doom and gloom, and he worries too much about what America will say. However, the suggestion he has made about appointing this man as an administrative cadet seems to be a good suggestion. This move would have given him a chance to learn the ropes of the police aspect of the work, while he performs the job he is hired to do. He would not have been called upon to do any police-related work. As it is now, having the rank, it should be expected of him to perform other police duties as an inspector. I hope that he won’t be hidden behind the tail coat of some other officer.

It seems as though the more things change, the more they remain the same. Lots of emphasis is being placed on training for police, but we are still enlisting people into the force and putting them to perform police duties without giving them the necessary training to equip them for that job.

Mr Prime Minister, I know that you have done a lot for the police since you took office and I think that most police are grateful for this. But, even though you have done all those good things for them, it doesn’t mean that all is well and they have nothing to grumble about.

Let me mention some reasons, other than that recent promotion why the police are grumbling.

(1) The headline of the Searchlight Midweek newspaper of Tuesday, 28th August, 2012.

(2) The police felt that you have tricked them on two occasions when they thought that Miller would not be coming back as commissioner to torment them, during the referendum in 2009 and the General Elections in 2010. Some are saying once the Comrade is there, Miller is not going to move. They are counting the months as they go by, expecting great things to take place in October next year. Please sir, don’t disappoint them, otherwise there might be more than grumbling. Some say that your hands are tied, so you really cannot do anything right now.

(3) Those young men who are on the breadline today all because of Mr Miller, without bringing criminal or disciplinary charges against them. He seems to be a law unto himself. The law says that a man is innocent until proven guilty or admits to guilt. Mr Miller’s law is guilty and they have to prove their innocence. Looks like when you become a policeman you have given up all your rights.

(4) The humiliation of policemen and women by their commissioner in public. Even gazetted officers are humiliated in the presence of members of the public and subordinates.

(5) The refusal to reward them with their leave after they have performed duties at the Carnival celebration in 2011, claiming that they are getting too much leave. He doesn’t realize that if he doesn’t treat his men well, they wouldn’t perform well. It is high time he learns that every action brings some sort of reaction. When they go out to perform their duty, they are worried because whether they do good or bad they are ridiculed.

(6) The verbal abuse of a sergeant at a general meeting at Old Montrose Police Station because he objected to going into that old dilapidated police station at Questelles to work, after your government has built a brand new station and removed men out of that rundown dump of a station. He was even accused of damaging government property, which was a lie.

(7) That young man with four years service who was sent home by Mr Miller while he was doing his initial training at Old Montrose earlier this year. The young man was adjudged the Best Recruit and days before he was to pass out, he was sent home. Bear in mind he already had four years. He was not on probation. He should have been charged disciplinary.

(8) Those policemen who have been acting as corporals and sergeants ranging from six years to some months and cannot be confirmed into those ranks. I am advocating for either a retroactive promotion for these guys or a skip in rank to compensate for this spiteful act by the commissioner. Mr Prime Minister, before the Police Welfare Association approached you with regard to that 50 years stipulation in the Police Act, two policemen had suffered at the hands of Mr Miller, who had them acting as sergeants, knowing that they were heading up to 50 and kept them acting until 50, then sent them home. Don’t you think that these two guys should be compensated for those five years of their work life which was cut short by Mr Miller? That was like a slap in those guys’ faces.

If our policemen and women are to perform better, they should be treated better. They are citizens of this country who put their lives on the line each day to protect this country and it is high time they be given that respect that is due to them.

(9) The condition of the Old Montrose Police Station where they have to work, sometimes they have to shift their beds to avoid getting wet when it rains.

Mr Prime Minister, I know that you are a man with a heart, one who champions the cause of the poor. I beg of you sir, to look into the plight of these men and don’t take things for granted. The police are hurting and are crying out for help, so pay heed to their cry.

Before I end I would like to thank you, sir, for the work you have put into the British American affair. I can now rest peacefully, as a life policy holder. I appreciate all that you have done. Once again, thank you.

SKIM

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