LOBBY FOR US: President of the Police Social Welfare Association Ag ASP Gideon Dickson, left, speaks with National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds on Sunday at an awards ceremony for North Eastern Division police officers at D Cruz Lounge in Santa Cruz. Photo by Shane Superville
NATIONAL Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said he understands the challenges facing the police and commends them for their dedication to duty, but the Minister of Finance has a difficult job trying to allocate adequate funds to cover all the branches of government.
He was giving an address at an awards ceremony on Sunday for North Eastern Division police, at D Cruz Lounge in Santa Cruz.
Earlier in the programme, president of the Police Social Welfare Association (PSWA) acting ASP Gideon Dickson called on Hinds to lobby for an increase in salaries for police officers.
Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Daryl Dindial, in his counterproposal to trade unions, offered no increase for the period 2014-2017, one per cent for 2018, no increase for the period 2019-2020, and one per cent for the 2021 negotiating period.
However, during his address, Hinds said while the work of the police, like other arms of national security, was critical to Trinidad and Tobago, a salary increase for the police would not be possible, given the number of different government agencies competing for more resources.
Using the analogy of Jesus Christ feeding his followers with a few fishes and loaves of bread, Hinds said Finance Minister Colm Imbert could not perform a similar miracle with the nation’s budget.
“There are thousands of other people in divisions and departments all arguing vociferously that what they do is important in the life of the nation.
“The Minister of Finance has to very skilfully and carefully manage the cutting-up of this very small cake.
“It is reported that at one stage Jesus Christ was possessed of five loaves and two fishes and was able to share them adequately among the multitude such that they were all very satisfied, but the fellow of whom I just spoke (Imbert) does not have the attributes of Jesus Christ. He is a mere mortal like you and I, Mr Dickson.”
Hinds also called on people to work harder.
“The economists have said if we improve our productivity and our output, and operate optimally, every one of us in the police service and all across the workforce of TT, then the size of the economy will increase by 25 per cent.
“So Mr Dickson, using the capacity that is available to you, I ask that you encourage the workers for whom you speak, that they do more, give a little more and that way, we will increase the size of the cake.”