Political leader of the National Transformation Alliance Gary Griffith. –
Former Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has expressed disappointment over what he called the “four per cent sell out” on the part of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association for accepting the Chief Personnel Officer’s (CPO) four per cent offer.
On Saturday, Griffith, the political leader of the National Transformation Alliance in a statement, said the association “must have sold out” as “no other explanation makes sense.”
On February 17, the association met with the CPO and signed a memorandum of agreement for outstanding salary negotiations for 2014-2016 and 2017-2019. Officers also got increases in uniform, meal, laundry, travelling and cost of living allowances. The parties also agreed to a job evaluation exercise to start next year.
In response, Griffith said, “It is amazing that whenever PNM is in office, how easily they get certain institutions to cave in. As a previous security minister under a non-PNM Government, there was no way that (Anand) Ramesar and (Michael) Seales, as the then heads of the welfare association, would have accepted this slap in the face of every officer, and rightly so.”
“This, by the way, was the same non-PNM Government that gave every officer a $1,000, non-taxable, monthly stipend in their salary, which is almost ten per cent of the basic salary of most, and which they still acquire till today.”
Griffith was a former national security minister under the People’s Partnership that Kamla Persad-Bissessar led.
He said that he saw the wastage of the previous PNM administration, which paid over 150 “foreign-used police retirees,” as part of SAUTT, $150,000 a month, with little return. SAUTT (Special Anti-Crime Unit of TT), the brainchild of former prime minister Patrick Manning was disbanded in 2011.
“I did the maths and recognised that I could replace the 150 salaries and instead give a stipend of $1,000 to every member of the 20,000-strong protective services,” Griffith said.
The hard-working men and women of the police, defence force, prisons and fire services who daily provide public safety and security, would have received a far better return on investment.
Griffith said he “packaged it,” and the then-prime minister approved it.
For that reason, he hopes that when the election bell rings, every member of the protective services and their families would recall this disparity.
He also hopes they recognise that “this is leadership and good governance, which is in contrast to Dr Rowley and his disconnected PNM hierarchy being our biggest mistakes.”