Police association head: Carnival ‘sickout threat’ blown out of proportion

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The national security officers conduct road safety check and screening of persons and vehicles entering the captial city of Port of Spain from as early as 3am on Carnival Monday ahead of Jouvert activities. – Photo by Roger Jacob

THE president of the Police Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA), ASP Gideon Dickson, believes that reports of a Carnival sickout threat over backpay and promotion concerns were blown out of proportion.

“At no point in time that was ever said. People were using social media to cause panic and sensationalism, and senior officers believed some of it,” Dickson told Newsday on Friday.

“The truth be told, police officers are by and large civic-minded and patriotic to the cause. It was demonstrated in our ability to come out and do what was needed to be done.”

He added that regular and municipal police, together with members of the Defence Force, were out in their numbers nationwide, which was a collaborative effort.

Dickson added that the association had not yet done a post-mortem on the police’s Carnival turnout.

In the lead-up to the Carnival, Dickson said many officers were disenchanted with several issues, including backpay and promotions.

Because of that, the officers were contemplating calling in sick for Carnival Monday and Tuesday to express their dissatisfaction.

On the back pay, he said it was progressing steadily.

“We are at about 57 per cent of the regular officers who would or already have received their back pay while 98 per cent of SRPs have already received their back pay. So we are progressing steadily.”

Via social media, Dickson praised the TTPSSWA’s liaison officers, saying they were out in their numbers from as early as 4 am on Carnival Monday, providing refreshments and fruits to their brother and sister police at various points throughout the country.

A Facebook post added: “Job well done. Congratulations to the TTPSSWA’s liaison officers for their hard work and dedication during the 2024 Carnival period. Also, special thank you to Starbucks for continuous support and recognition of the diligent men and women of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.”

On Ash Wednesday, via a media statement, Commissioner of Police (CoP) Erla Harewood-Christopher praised the police and other law enforcement partners for ensuring the Carnival was safe this year.

She said serious crimes were kept at an all-time low, with just a few minor incidents being recorded.

“The safety and security experienced by all were the result of extensive planning and the execution of very detailed plans by a very competent and committed cadre of personnel,” the statement said.

The CoP commended the Gold Commander, ACP Kelvern Thompson, and the alternate Gold Commander, ACP Winston Maharaj, as well as all the officers who worked tirelessly to deliver this outcome.