Deplorable work conditions of the officers in St. John, Antigua & Barbuda

The Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) has taken note of the deplorable working conditions of our members in St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda.

The CFPWA has observed the less-than-humane conditions under which many of our Police Officers across the region have to operate. We have seen the images coming out of St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda, where Police Officers had to offer their services from outside the mould and termite-infested building. We want to commend the Officers who, despite the conditions of their work, decided that they would continue to serve the Public nonetheless.

The CFPWA is aware that the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Welfare Association has made representations on these matters of poor working conditions. Chairperson Harris has been strident in her stance for better working conditions for the Officers of the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force. We understand that these dilapidated conditions have persisted for over two (2) decades.

"We have seen too much talk about fixing crimes around the region, yet our Police Officers have to operate from mould and termite-infested buildings. Our Officers have to go out without the proper Protective and ballistic gear. Which begs us to ask the question, Are our Governments serious about crime fighting or is it just a good talking point?" Lamented President Sean McCall. "We want to make it clear that the CFPWA stands with our members who refuse to operate under these conditions, as no other Government Department or agency is accepting these working conditions." McCall stated.

Commissioner Rodney in a recent press statement stated that "The building is seriously dilapidated, infested with termites, and has serious structural problems." The CFPWA would like to know who will be held culpable if there is a structural failure that causes harm or death to a Police Officer in that said building?

These dilapidated working conditions are not only a failure of one department or the management of the Force but also of other Government agencies. What is the purpose of the Public Health or Public Safety departments?

The CFPWA has learned that there has been a temporary solution to relocate some of the Officers to another location until these issues are remedied. We want to commend Commissioner Atlee Rodney for his swift response and actions in finding a temporary solution to house the Officers of the Criminal Records Office and the Prosecution Office. We understand that another department will remain, and a solution is being worked on for short-term relief until the building is renovated.

These conditions cannot persist, and we want to urge the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to follow through with their commitment without delay to addressing these issues.