Categorized | National News

Trade Dispute Filed Against Gov’t Law Enforcement Agencies Unite

Nearly 7,000 officers from various law enforcement agencies could take action if the government fails to respond to their demands.

At a press conference yesterday, representatives from the police and defence forces, immigration, prison and customs officers, as well as maritime professionals joined forces to ask the government to put their medical insurance and pension plan with Colina back where it was.

The government reduced the group’s medical insurance by $7 million this fiscal year, a move the group has deemed “unfair.”

Bahamas Customs, Immigration and Allied Workers Union (BCIAWU) Vice-President Sloan Smith said it is as though local law enforcement agencies are not appreciated.

The group reportedly wrote a letter to the prime minister shortly after learning of the change.

But according to Mr. Smith, he has yet to respond, leaving the officers with little choice but to file a trade dispute against the government, namely Prime Minister Perry Christie and Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Fred Mitchell.;

“What we’re saying is, this is less than what we had and the law doesn’t allow you to do it without consultation,” Mr. Smith said. “We want it to go back to what it was.”

“If that happens, then we have no issue. But I also must caution that I suppose that while we took this to the honourable minister of labour, how do you think it looks for the prime minister to go to him to conciliate this. There’s only one person in the country that can correct this and that is the prime minister.”

The group finds it “interesting” that the government could find money to bring in new cars and other equipment for the law enforcement agencies, but do not see it as important to invest in the health of those same workers.

He however applauded the government for increasing the benefits of those with special needs children and the officers who have los their life in the line of duty.

“They dealt with the issue of accidental death and dismemberment, but the question is still coming up, how many people actually die in the line of duty?” Mr. Smith said.

“We see the obvious adjustments in that category, but when you look further down at the copay, deductibles and out of pocket maximums, those occurrences are daily. The everyday occurrence where my family member or yours is sick and has to see a doctor is serious.”

Police Staff Association Chairman Inspector Dwight Smith agreed, adding that these officers place their life on the line every day.

“When we go out there, especially the police, defense and prison officers, people call us all kinds of names,” he said.

“But when we go out, we go out with the mindset that we may not return home.”

The officers insist they are not threatening the government but is simply urging it to hear their plea.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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