For the second time this year, members of the Royal Barbados Police Force are raising concern about outstanding pay.
However, the officers, who had initially complained back in May about non payment of monies owed for extra duties carried out during Christmas 2015, say the situation has only gotten worse for them since they were now owed for work done during Crop Over 2016 as well.
Barbados TODAY understands that payment for extra duties is usually made in October of each year.
However, some of the officers, who spoke to Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity, say all they have been getting so far this year are empty promises from Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce, who is responsible for administration.
“Mr Boyce has stated on at least three different occasions that these outstanding monies will be paid, but his promises have until now failed to be honoured,” one officer complained.
Saying they were sick and tired of waiting, another officer warned that the situation, which affects members of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and other critical areas such as the Drug Squad, Forensics and Serious Crime units, would not be allowed to continue indefinitely.
He also said there was no guarantee that the officers would be available to perform extra-duties during upcoming events, including those marking this island’s 50th anniversary of independence.
However, when contacted this afternoon, Acting ACP Boyce admitted that the Force was experiencing some money challenges. However, he assured that the overdue payments for Christmas 2015 and Crop Over 2016 would be made this month.
“There was a minor challenge that caused a particular entity in the Force not to be paid on time, but that has been rectified and it is just a matter of getting the money in their [officers’] hands this month,” Boyce told Barbados TODAY.
“I am surprised they [disgruntled officers] went to the media. That was just a small fraction of the Force that had a little challenge in the process, but everything is in favour of being paid . . . . I don’t think it is going to go into December,” he stressed.
Asked how many officers were affected by the non-payment, Boyce said over 300 law enforcers who worked at Foreday Mornin and more than 500 who performed extra duties for Kadooment. However, he could not recall the numbers involved in other mass events such as Soca Royale.
Barbados TODAY also reached out to the President of the Police Association of Barbados Mervin Grace, who sought to downplay suggestions that the matter could degenerate into protests.
In fact, Grace made it clear that police could neither embark on industrial action or stage any sick out action.
“The police force don’t ever have industrial action . . . we might get sick, but we don’t sick out. If the fellows get sick they would go to the doctor . . . so if they go to the doctor in numbers, it would appear like a sick out, but we can’t sick out,” he said, stressing that, “I am not aware of any industrial action.”
Grace said he was aware that the administration was making every effort to have the outstanding monies paid as soon as possible.
“I had meetings with the admin and it on train to be paid shortly,” the police spokesman assured.
Earlier this year, the Acting Superintendent of Police in charge of Administration, Timothy Springer, had stated that all officers would have been paid the outsanding monies due to them from last year, except for those who would have submitted their documentation late.