Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations Gears Up for its 10th Intercessional Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sunday, November 5, 2023– The Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) is set to convene in Trinidad and Tobago for a two-day Intercessional Meeting on November 9 and 10, 2023, at the prestigious Police Academy. Executive Members and Delegates from across the region will begin their arrival on Monday, November 6, 2023.

The theme for this significant gathering is "Representation is not about oneself but representing the protector’s interest through respectful dialogue, skilful negotiations, and fervent advocacy." The meeting aims to foster a collaborative environment for law enforcement professionals to engage in meaningful discussions, exchange ideas, and strategize on ways to better serve and protect their communities.

The Opening Ceremony, a momentous event in itself, will witness the presence of esteemed dignitaries and special guests from the law enforcement community. The Guest Speaker for the occasion is the President of the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago, Honourable Deborah Thomas-Felix. Her insights are anticipated to provide valuable perspectives on the intersection of legal and law enforcement issues.

Adding to the distinguished line-up, Mrs. Erla Harewood-Christopher, Commissioner of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, will also address the meeting, sharing her expertise and experiences in the field.

This 10th Intercessional Meeting is being hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA). The TTPSSWA, which has been a member of the CFPWA since its formation in 2007, is hosting this meeting for the very first time, and it promises to be one like no other.

The CFPWA Intercessional Meeting promises to be a forum for insightful discussions, skilful negotiations, and fervent advocacy for the welfare and interests of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving their communities. This event reflects the commitment of the Caribbean law enforcement community to continuous improvement and collaboration.

 

For media inquiries or additional information, please contact:

General Secretary: generalsecretary@cfpwa.com or 876-373-4202

Public Relations Officer: pro@cfpwa.com or 868-336-7776

Sexual harassment of Police Officers

The Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) is appalled by the lack of action when sexual harassment is reported by Police Officers across the region.

The CFPWA has taken keen note of the situation in St. Lucia as it relates to the claims made by a Police Officer of sexual harassment by a Senior Member of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force. The attacks on Mr. Camron Laure, Chairman of the Police Welfare Association are unwarranted, and the attempt to politicise the matter is rather distasteful.

To the best of our knowledge, only Police Force/Service of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and the Turks and Caicos Islands have Sexual Harassment Policies. This is unacceptable in 2023. Every police organisation should have a Sexual Harassment Policy. We are cognizant of the fact that not only females are being harassed but, in several instances, males as well.

It is disappointing that despite the concerns and reports made by the Royal St. Lucia Police Welfare Association, the Senior member has not been placed on Administrative leave to facilitate an investigation, and the member continues to be elevated through the ranks of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force. This cannot be the way; it is incumbent on the Police Services Commission to cause an investigation to be done. The CFPWA stands in solidarity with Chairman Laure and his Executive to bring this matter to the fore and have the Officer involved removed from the Office until an investigation has cleared that person of the allegations.

The Welfare Associations and Federations around the region met under the theme "Building and Sustaining Police Officers' Welfare in the Caribbean for Better Societies Across the Region" from May 24th–26th, 2023, at the Bel Jou Hotel, St. Lucia and the matter of Sexual Harassment was main on our agenda.

"The CFPWA wants to encourage Police Officers to report acts of Sexual Harassment against them and use technology to capture the evidence. We are aware that there are instances where persons have been intimidated and/or threatened with promotion or being victimised." Said President Sean McCall. "Your CFPWA will be using the mediums available to us to edify our members about Sexual Harassment, and we want our Officers to join in for these online sessions." McCall posited.

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.

CFPWA Elects more female to serve on its Executive Committee

The Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) celebrates Ms. Nathalie John as the First Female to be elected to serve as 2nd Vice President, as we continue to promote Gender Equality within the Executive Committee.

The Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) is pleased to inform you that Ms. Nathalie John of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Services is the first female to ever hold the esteemed position of 2nd Vice President within the organisation since it was established in 2007. Ms. John's election marks a significant milestone in the CFPWA's history, as it demonstrates the organisation's commitment to gender equality and recognises the important role of women in leadership positions.

Mrs. Tricia Durant-Charles of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service was also elected as Public Relations Officer (PRO). Ms. John and Mrs. Durant-Charles join Mrs. Tammika Lall-Williams of the Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police Force as Assistant General Secretary and Ms. Somorrow Quashie of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadine Police Force, who was re-elected as Assistant Treasurer to the Executive Committee.

The Welfare Associations and Federations around the region met under the theme "Building and Sustaining Police Officers' Welfare in the Caribbean for Better Societies Across the Region" from May 24th–26th, 2023, at the Bel Jou Hotel, St. Lucia.

This exemplifies the organisation's unwavering commitment to promoting gender equality and inclusivity within its structure. Previous years saw the CFPWA Executive Committee comprise entirely of male representatives; the CFPWA now boasts 36% female representation, with four out of the eleven (11) Executive Members being women. This significant milestone reinforces the CFPWA's stance that gender should never be a barrier to leadership positions, but rather competence and dedication should prevail.

"The CFPWA recognises that gender equality is vital for the growth and progress of our organisation and the police forces/services we represent," stated Mr. Sean McCall, President of the CFPWA. "We are proud to have four (4) exemplary female representatives at this level, representing the welfare of the law enforcers across the region, and we celebrate the increased female representation within our Executive Committee. This accomplishment is a testament to our commitment to promoting fairness, inclusivity, and diversity."

The CFPWA remains steadfast in its mission to advocate for fair promotions across the police forces/services within the Caribbean region. By electing competent individuals to serve on the Executive Committee, regardless of their gender, the CFPWA continues to reinforce the principles of meritocracy and the importance of effective leadership.

The CFPWA is disappointed with the move of the Bahamas Government to remove dependents from insurance coverage of Police Officer.

The Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) is extremely disappointed with the move of the Bahamas Government to proceed with the removal of the dependents of Police Officers from insurance coverage.

The CFPWA has noted the move by the Bahamas Government to remove the dependents of Police Officers from the Police insurance coverage, arguing about the cost of such benefits and that the persons being covered are not employed by the Services. We consider this statement to be insensitive and disrespectful to the men and women who have given selflessly to the protection and safety of their Country. We want to remind the Government that the families of our law enforcers give selflessly every day, not knowing if their spouse or parents will return home.

We would like to draw the Government’s attention to the compensation and remuneration of Police Officers. Are Police being paid enough to get proper insurance for their families? Why should a greater level of stress be added to the Police, who are already having a hard time coping with the poor working conditions, long hours of work, and having to worry about where the money will come from to seek medical attention if their dependents fall ill?

Mr. Prime Minister, Are you comfortable knowing that the Police Officer who is performing Close Protection duties is psychologically nowhere near work because his/her child(ren) or spouse is home sick and they cannot afford medical care?

The Police dependents are an extension of the Police, as it is our family who suffers the most, and it is the family of Police Officers who loses in order to protect the country.

The CFPWA is also using this medium to urge the Prime Minister and his Government to reconsider and reinstate the Police Officers dependent benefits. We want to use the opportunity to also commend the Government on the addition of the much-needed dental and optical plan to the Police Insurance Coverage.

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