Police Federation Chairman accuses Gov't of 'wage theft, playing with national security'Sunday, January 16, 2022
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation, Corporal Rohan James believes that the Government is "playing with national security" with the administration yet to resolve the long-vexed question of a wage settlement with rank-and-file police personnel.
"The government of Jamaica is playing with national security and the citizens' safety. You can't have a distracted work force driven by the government, our employer who continues to flout the labour laws and embark on wage theft," Corporal James stated.
"Police officers are putting their lives on the line without support from the government with basic support for welfare and well-being, let alone no regard for those charges before the court...not even to commit to pay their legal fees," he complained.
The island has been hit by a recent crime wave that has seen a period of bloodcurdling violence that resulted in at least 13 murders in a 24-hour period last week. Statistics released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force also showed that there were 37 murders in the first eight days of the year.
"Criminals are emboldened because the government has shown scant regard for law enforcement and the value to the nation's growth agenda.
“The high crime rate in this country to date should cause the government to sit down with us to resolve all issues in the interest of national security. The government has lost the will and capacity to prioritise in the interest of this country and citizens," James declared.
The federation chairman said he is awaiting an invitation from the government to return to the bargaining table.
"We wrote to the Minister of Finance [Dr Nigel Clarke] as late as [last] Tuesday, still awaiting the invitation back to the table," he said.
Last Tuesday, Clarke announced in Parliament that the government had allocated an additional $1 billion in the national crime-fighting effort.
Overall, as he outlined, the JCF is to get $1.8 billion more in the revised budget for the 2021/2022 fiscal year, to purchase motor vehicles and for its stores and armoury. The sum includes $616 million to conduct general police services.
Clarke revealed that the government wants to fast-track negotiations with the federation over claims for unpaid overtime salaries and expressed the government's unequivocal support for the cops.
"The police represent the backbone of Jamaica's domestic security," Clarke said.