by Linda Straker
- Over 160 policemen infected and in self-quarantine, affecting productive level of RGPF
- Less than 50% of Force vaccinated
- Local active cases moved from 5 on 17 August to 1,791 on 10 September 2021
Approximately 20% of officers in the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) are currently infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. This has resulted in some officers having to work between 15 to 16 hours per day.
Grenada began recording an upsurge in mid-August of Covid-19 due to mass gatherings events some of which were not authorised by the authorities. Local active cases moved from 5 on 17 August to 1,791 on 10 September 2021. Health authorities have declared that the country is affected by community spread with the Delta variant which was detected in early August as the main strain.
“There are a number of policemen, I think it’s over 160 odd policemen, who are infected and many of them have to self-quarantine, and it is affecting them and their families and it’s affecting the productive level of the force,” said Dr Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister for National Security.
“It’s a tough act for everybody, with the lockdown this weekend, almost every police having to be working 15 to 16 hours, otherwise, we won’t be able to achieve a significant impact with the lockdown we are implementing,” Dr Mitchell said in a live interview late Friday. “They are trying their best, they are giving the Government the support they can. The leadership is trying but at the same time there are serious limitations.” The Prime Minister explained that the purpose of the weekend lockdown is to reduce on the movement of people “because when people move, the virus moves.”
In a recent interview, Commissioner of Police Edvin Martin disclosed that less than 50% of the Force were vaccinated, but educational sessions facilitated by members of the medical fraternity were in progress with a view to getting more officers to become vaccinated.
Data from the Ministry of Health has shown an increase in vaccination since the cases began to increase but it’s not clear if some of the newly vaccinated with the first dose are police officers.
The legislation establishing the Police Force allows for 1,025 sworn positions for the maintenance of law and order, the preservation of the peace, the protection of life and property, the prevention and detection of crime, the enforcement of all laws and regulations with which it is charged, and the apprehension of offenders.