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Dr. Peter Phillips, Minister of National Security, has commended members of the Police Officer’s Association (POA) for displaying “the highest level of maturity” during the negotiations for an increase in remuneration for officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
“I want to congratulate all those from the Ministry of Finance and Planning and from the Police Officer Association for the spirit in which these negotiations have been conducted. The approach has reflected forthrightness, maturity and realism on both sides,” he said, at the signing of the 2004/2006 Heads of Agreements for members of the officer rank yesterday (Nov. 25), at the Ministry of Finance and Planning in Kingston.
Negotiations were recently concluded for rank and file members of the force as well as the District Constables, and according to the Minister, talks with the Island Special Constabulary Force should be concluded in a matter of days. The terms are expected to be similar to those offered to the JCF.
Under the agreement signed yesterday, the police officers will receive a one off payment of $50,000, education support in the form of scholarships, improvement in burial and death benefits, as well as housing allowances.
Dr. Phillips pointed out that even as the government sought to address the needs in the system, such as improvement in plants and conditions of work, and the need for new technologies, providing an attractive remuneration package for the men and women of the force was also essential.
He said it was not just simply a matter of providing more pay, but rewarding length of service, and “attracting people with the qualifications, attitudes and values, which make for good policing”.
In his remarks, State Minister for Finance and Planning, Fitz Jackson, said that “the demands and the requirements of the Jamaica Constabulary Force is in fact beyond where we are able to make provisions for adequately at this time and our Heads of Agreement is in recognition of those constraints that we face”.
However in going forward, Minister Jackson said the government would continue to seek to “ameliorate those challenges to the JCF in whatever way possible”.
Acting Commissioner of Police Leon Rose, who is chairman of the Police Officer’s Association, said he was glad that the negotiations had come to a conclusion.
“A month or two ago I made mention of the fact, in urging government, that it was in the national interest to bring these discussions to a conclusion. to allow the police force to concentrate their efforts fully on the fight against crime and violence,” he said.