Cops on edge after overtime payment case hit with more delaysThursday, September 23, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation, Corporal Rohan James, has expressed disappointment on behalf of the federation's members after a claim for an order to enforce payment of salaries due to rank and file officers for overtime work done since 2008, was once again adjourned today.
The matter, which was brought to the court by the police federation on behalf of rank and file police officers, was adjourned on the government lawyers' application.
The case was scheduled today for an agreement to be announced as to how and when the police officers would be paid, but the government lawyer informed the court that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Security had not yet communicated their final proposal for payment.
Since the claim was filed in May of 2020, there have been discussions between the lawyers for both sides.
On July 30, 2021, the case was adjourned to September 23, 2021, on the basis that by then the government would have put forward its counter-proposal for settlement.
To date, the federation says it has received none.
However, Corporal James said the federation and its members will not yield.
“We are disappointed that the government has yet again failed in its application to come to the table with the settlement that was expected at today's court hearing. We believe that we were on par to receive a judgement from the court, but, disappointingly, the government has failed the rank and file members who have toiled long and hard,” James told OBSERVER ONLINE.
“We just wanna say at this point in time that we do not intend to relent or yield or sacrifice any of which was worked for by the members, and that they expect that the government on the next occasion will be in a position to honour the outstanding claim that the police is expecting. That their sweat and blood will bear the fruit and they will reap that fruit,” he continued.
James also appealed to the government to let “good sense prevail.”
The federation said its members have been patient, accommodating and diligent in their efforts to have this issue resolved, but are quickly becoming frustrated.
“Members are on edge and agitated. With the show of their presence today in court, it is an indication that members have a high expectation and we do not intend to relent, we do not intend to give up any aspect of this. We are urging the government to diligently settle this once and for all in the interest of national security and the people of Jamaica,” he said.
Noting that the police are expected to play a central role in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the high crime rate, the federation said officers need to be assured that their rights as citizens of this country will not continue to be disregarded or placed in the periphery.
James is therefore urging the relevant ministries to expedite the process to pay the officers what is owed.
Any further delay, he said, could further exacerbate an already vexed issue that has far-reaching implications for national security.