Police services that provide for the prevention and detection of crime in Barbados have escaped government’s budgetary cuts for the next fiscal year.
However, the Estimates Of Revenue And Expenditure 2014-2015, laid in Parliament yesterday, show that other areas of the Royal Barbados Police Force, were not that fortunate.
For the new financial period beginning April 1, the Freundel Stuart administration forecasts it will spend $84.7 million on general police services, an increase of $1.8 million when compared to the revised estimates for the current year.
This aspect of the force facilitates the preservation of peace, prevention and detection of crime and other contraventions of laws and control and regulation of traffic on all highways and public places. That money also pays staff as well as the operational costs of police stations.
The Estimates Of Revenue And Expenditure suggest, too, that Government anticipates a “reasonable” improvement in the country’s economic situation after 2015. That is because it has “given notice” of its intention to significantly raise spending on crime in its forward estimates for 2015 to 2017 to the tune of $17.7 million.
It may be noted that while Parliament had originally approved $83.8 million for general police services for this current financial period, that figure was revised downward to $82.9 million.
Among those areas in the force which will feel cuts next fiscal year, are professional training of recruits from Barbados [and some other Caribbean states] at the Regional Police Training Centre, at Seawell, along with refresher and senior courses for members of the local constabulary at home and abroad.
Funding for the anti-money laundering programme, the police band and traffic warden division are also targeted for spending cuts.
However, while the anti-money laundering programme should get less money in the coming year [$706,463], Government will be looking to invest a total of $2.1 million in that project during a two-year period [2015-2017]. The money, the Estimates Of Revenue And Expenditure stated, is to provide for the general management and function of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority and the Financial Intelligence Unit.
The main aim of the programme is to maintain effective mechanisms to develop, strengthen and manage Barbados’ anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing infrastructure.
The police headquarters and its management are also to benefit from a slight increase in funding next fiscal year – $17.38 million as against $17.31 million for the current period.
Those sums of money have been slashed substantially from what were originally approved for the present period – $19.5 million.