JIS News

The government has concluded its negotiations with the bargaining units of the police force, with yesterday’s (Nov. 29) signing of the heads of agreement with the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF), for the 2004/06 financial period.
The deal, which is similar to that accorded to the members of the Police Federation, the United District Constables Association and the Police Officers Association, will provide for a lump sum payment of $50,000; education support in the form of scholarships, increase in death and burial grants, as well as housing benefits.
Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, who participated in the signing ceremony held at the National Heroes Circle offices of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, pointed out that as part of the process of reform, changes would be made to the structure of remuneration for the police force, in keeping with the specialist areas and the distinct tasks of the various groups.
He noted further, that there was the need to improve pay arrangements for more efficient management.
“Promotion should not be occasioned by the demands of pay; promotion should be occasioned by the fact that whoever is promoted is equipped to perform the particular task specified by the position to which they are promoted. That in turn means that we need to recognize the needs of long service so that people, who serve long, will be properly rewarded without feeling that they need to seek promotion just to maintain an increase in their salary remuneration,” he stated.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Finance and Planning, Fitz Jackson, pointed out that the Ministry had no issue with the fact that the ISCF took the government to court recently on the matter of the public sector Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
“The ISCF did in fact enter the court to have an opinion on the whole question of the MoU and their negotiations. There has been a ruling in that matter but I want to state clearly that we have had and continue to have no difficulty at all with that course of action,” he said.
Mr. Jackson noted that even though the bargaining unit had disagreed with the position of the government, they were never disruptive in their approach. “We had maintained that our position was correct but the Association at no time sought to disrupt the service that they offer to the public and sought to go about their business in a very legal and responsible way,” he informed.
In his response, chairman of the ISCF, Christopher Bowen, suggested that the National Security Ministry consider increasing the number of special constables so that, “the country can be better managed and more can be given to the special constables”.
“We have never felt inferior to our counterparts as it relates to any task given and that is why we have chosen the route we have chosen,” he said, while noting that the special constables were pleased that the negotiations had ended.