'We will not relent'
Police federation says it won't back down in fight for outstanding overtime payThursday, November 25, 2021
The Jamaica Police Federation (JPF) and the Government will return to the Supreme Court on December 16, when a trial date will be set if the parties fail to come to a compromise in their dispute over outstanding overtime wages due to rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force since 2008.
According to JPF's chairman, Corporal Rohan James, it is a travesty that the government is fighting police for monies that are owed. He said that the trial can be averted by the government agreeing to pay the JPF members.
“The government has yet again reneged on its responsibility and has disappointed the rank and file membership and the constabulary force at large and the people of Jamaica by failing to deliver on its promise to have this matter settled and for a judgement to be issued by the court today,” James said Thursday outside the Supreme Court, where hundreds of police personnel rallied to demand that the Government pay what is owed to them.
“Yes we are disappointed but we will not relent, we are in it for the long haul,” James said, adding “The government has acknowledged that these monies are in fact owed to the membership and we are hoping that on the next occasion when we appear in court good sense will prevail and the government will honour its obligations.”
James said people across the world are watching the actions of the Jamaican government, arguing that it will demonstrate the state's seriousness towards tackling crime and violence in the country.
He said the JPF went to court on Thursday hoping that the government would have honoured the obligations and settle the outstanding matter, but instead the state has continued to demoralise police officers, who he claims are at the lowest point they have ever been.
According to James, the JPF is prepared to go to trial and fight for what is rightfully for the members.
In the latest offer to the government on Wednesday, in an open letter, the federation said members will forego overtime from 2008 to 2015. The federation wants a lump-sum payment and the rest paid within two years.
The government, in the meantime, is offering to pay overtime back pay from 2019 over six years.