PORT OF SPAIN — Police officers threatened to walk off the job as early as today if their demands under the Occupational Safety and Health Act are not met. In an interview yesterday, general secretary of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association Sergeant Michael Seales said several stations were in a dilapidated state and infested with rodents and bats.
However, Seales said the association would meet with acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams tomorrow to tour the San Fernando Police Station which the association said was now in a state of disrepair.
“Members raised the issue that it is not habitable and he (Williams) promised to come look at it on Tuesday where we will do a tour of the facility,” Seales said.
He said two years ago, former national security Minister John Sandy and then Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner toured the station.
“Two years have passed and members are demanding they be moved from the station. We alerted the commander of the division. We also raised the issue of the Moruga Police Station and he said the work is being done,” he said.
Seales said there were complaints of bats and rodents, and problems with lack of space at the station.
“They had to convert spaces that were not designed for original use. It has created a health hazard for those occupying it. The soldiers are existing there also and with that type of atmosphere, it is not suitable for anyone to occupy,” he said.
Seales said the other stations that have fallen into a state of deterioration were La Brea, Roxborough and the St Joseph Police Stations.
“It (St. Joseph Police Station) is one we raised with the Police Service Commission and we gave the assurance, as members of association, and they are trying to identify a suitable location. We want to move them out and move the officers to the Maracas/St Joseph Police Station. We are just echoing the concerns of the membership,” he said.
“They have demanded if they don’t remedy the situation they (police officers) wanted to walk off and we assured that we will move them to somewhere habitable,” he said.
Seales said the San Fernando Police Station housed different sections such as the Guard and Emergency Branch, Court and Process, San Fernando Police Station, fingerprint section and other units.
“The association hopes help comes quicker than anticipated,” he said. “There was a fire that destroyed part of the building in San Fernando years ago. “There is no dormitory which houses those units and there is only one facility for the women to refresh themselves.” (Guardian)