Promotions vex police
Police officers threaten court action against recent promotions in the Dominica Police Force
On Friday September 12, 2014 members of the Police Welfare Association (PWA) were holding a meeting to discuss government's alleged tardiness in responding to requests for salary and fringed benefits. Then they were greeted with news of a number of recent promotions within the Police Force; the meeting ended almost immediately.
The police officers were angry and they believe that government is "testing their patience"; they say they will take the matter to court. According to aggrieved police officers, many of the promotions were based "on performance or merit but on friendship."
"Take for example, an officer (name withheld) was promoted to the rank of sergeant he is a personal friend of the boss; this can't be right and must stop," a source with inside information on the matter told the Sun. "We are looking at the appointments that were made with a view to if possible challenge them in court like was done a few years ago by another senior police officer who I must say got the desired results. But dem fellas in the Police Service Commission are not learning and politics is the order of the day with promotions," the source said.
But another top cop, who requested anonymity to speak on the matter to the Sun, has a different view; he says the officers who are complaining are "cowards".
"They must stop talking about challenging it…just go ahead and do it or shut up. They are not serious; they are cowards because that's what they say when promotions are done and after they forget all about it," he said.
According to the officer, while he would welcome a promotion, he believes that the difference in salaries from a constable to a corporal and from corporal to sergeant is not a vast difference.
"The difference in salary is just a touch over $100 but the system is bad because if you challenge them, they (the State and the PSC) combine to fight you and in the end you are the loser," he said.
Two other senior police officers, who spoke to the SUN on conditions of anonymity for fear of reprisals said that combined, they have acted as Sergeant for over 14 times and yet when an opening is available, it is given to someone else.
"I have had discussions with the Chief about that. My mortgage is safe but they are pressers and wicked and their actions are frustrating and hurting; we are disgruntled police officer who will respond accordingly," he said. "We work under tough and adverse conditions; the St. Joseph, Vieille Case and Castle Bruce police stations are bad. In fact the condition at the Castle Bruce police stations is so deplorable that it is not fit for humans to cohabit; yet we have tolerated it and the Government is playing politics with our promotions".
When president of the Police Welfare Association (PWA), Jefferson Drigo, was contacted about the matter he confirmed that the Police Service Commission (PSC) affected a number of promotions and that a number of police officers "felt hurt, disappointed and frustrated." Although the PWA was "cash strapped" the association would assist anyone whoever decides to lodge a legal challenge against the promotions done by the PSC.
PSC chairman, Ian Munro, was immediately available for comments on the issue.