Attorney General provides update

THE new police station at Cane Garden, St. Thomas is on track to officially open within the first week of the New Year.

That’s the word from Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, who said January 3, 2018 is the date set for operations to start there. The AG said that the St. Thomas facility is currently awaiting furniture and other finishing touches. He made the disclosure at the Barbados Police Association’s Annual General Meeting, as he spoke to what his ministry has been doing with respect to the construction of new stations and the upkeep of police stations across Barbados to ensure they provide the best accommodation possible for officers.

“If you pass by that facility, you would see what an outstanding facility has been constructed there… I am very proud of what we have built there. Work at Hastings is about ten weeks behind with a promised completion date of May next year. We have completed architectural drawings for Boarded Hall and Six Roads of unbelievable quality… The drawings that we have would suggest to me that if we construct these facilities, or when we construct these facilities, that they would actually be better than what is at Cane Garden,” he noted.

He said they have also done regular maintenance to several stations throughout the island.

He made the point that while he has been ad-vised that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is happy in their new facility at the former Barbados Tourism Authority building. He acknowledged that the exterior of the building does need a paint job, but noted that conditions are far superior to what obtained when the CID was housed in the District ‘A’ Complex.

He added that the old male barracks was opened recently, but they still need additional resources to outfit the gym. He said it will require in the region of $250 000 to provide that gym equipment.

Meanwhile, turning his attention to the issue of promotions within the Force, Brathwaite acknowledged that the process has been taking long and said management has to find a way to streamline it. He made the point while noting that the time it takes between the sitting of exams and the posting of results leaves a lot to be desired.

Referring to the Public Service Act which was passed in 2007, he explained that one of the issues of promotions rests with that piece of legislation. According to Brathwaite, all vacant posts within the public service have to be advertised and qualified persons can apply, but he said this poses a bit of challenge in respect of the Force.

“Policing is a bit different and we have to be careful that in our quest to adopt international first world standards, that in fact we don’t also shoot ourselves in the foot. My understanding of policing is that there are many aspects of the job that you are exposed to over time, that you don’t come in because you have a degree and understand policing; you don’t come in because you have a master’s and be a good detective; you don’t come in because you have a master’s and be a good manager,” he said.

He is therefore suggesting that there is need to find a mechanism, notwithstanding what the Public Service Act requires, to ensure that the management of the Royal Barbados Police Force has some input in terms of the promotion process.

“But moreover, is able to look within the Force, identify the bright, young sparks who can be groomed for the future. We have to do this, because we should not end up in the situation I have with at least one other government department, where when I look at the management, there is such a gulf between the head of the organisation and the middle management that it concerns me. It concerns me immensely,” he stated. (JRT)

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