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Friday 19th March, 2021

The following statement was issued by the Progressive Liberal Party’s spokesman on National Security Glenys Hanna Martin:

We have apprised ourselves of the issues affecting Prison Officers which have led to the extraordinary action recently taken by officers in order to draw attention to their long-standing matters.

It is clear that Prison Officers have very serious concerns which range from human resource issues such as confirmations in post, and due promotions, all of which remain unresolved for years and are affecting not only the morale of officers but the livelihood of both themselves and their families.

Further, retired officers who are to be reengaged remain without salary awaiting resolution of their matters, having serious impact on their financial realities.

Some officers entitled to pension are still waiting years after retirement for payments to be made and the grant of gratuities have in instances been awarded in an apparent inconsistent basis and lacking transparency.

The officers further complain that they are without security apparatus and proper transport equipment in high risk environments and in some instances essential training of officers is lacking with obvious implications.

Compounding this state of affairs is the political decision-making on this administration taking office in 2017 which led to the removal of officers then senior to the current Commissioner so as to facilitate a promotion. This has caused for substantive gaps in the rank of command with repercussions including the denial of uniformed officers access to internal disciplinary processes as provided for by law.

All in all it is clear that the concerns of officers are objectively justified and egregious in nature and highlight the neglect and political interference in this critical institution.

The range, scope and serious national security implications of this dispute demand that the Prime Minister immediately summon the Ministers with responsibility of National Security, Labour and Public Service to move with haste in arriving at a resolution. 

The country cannot afford to allow this issue to grow out of control.  

RESOLUTION is needed and needed now.