Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is expected to meet with the Police Social and Welfare Association, according to National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy. He said so during yesterday's post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. He did not give any details.
And National Security Adviser to the PM Gary Griffith later said no details had been worked out for the meeting.
He said the date was yet to be determined. He added that the Prisons Officers Association had also submitted a request to meet with Persad-Bissessar. The meeting between the PM and the police association comes on the heels of sickout action by protesting officers. The private residences of the PM and Chief Justice were left unattended by officers who claimed they were ill. Soldiers had to be called out to assume duties.
Griffith said based on what came out of the meeting between the PM and police, it would be determined whether moves would be made to get an injunction to prevent a repeat of such action. And Sandy said yesterday that no action could be taken against the officers, who are demanding increased salaries, because they engaged in sickout action. He said he was disappointed in their course of action and insisted that if he had the money required to increase their salaries, he would pay them.
He said many of the police officers were hard-working. Sandy said he has always commended the officers for their work publicly. "They are worth it, our officers are worth it...So there is no way I will denigrate (officers)," he said. He was responding to reports which claimed that he described officers as "slackers" and "lazy." He renewed his call for the officers to let good sense prevail and return to work in the interest of nationals and visitors alike. He appealed to the officers to reconsider their actions.
He said Persad-Bissessar was eager to speak with them and "I know something good is going to come out of it." Sandy again said the biggest problem affecting the people of T&T was crime and criminal activity. "We need our police officers, we need our soldiers-and I want to thank our soldiers for coming up to the plate." Sandy said he hoped "there would not be another occasion that we'll have to ask them to come out." "That was not the correct thing to do," he stressed. Asked to comment on the officers who abandoned their posts at the PM's residence in the wee hours of Tuesday morning , Sandy said he had "major concerns" about it. He said in the military a soldier cannot quit his post unless he was properly relieved.