Prime Minister, Dr the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell has assured members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) that Government will continue to work collaboratively with stakeholders, as it seeks to resolve the pension issue following the recent High Court ruling.
In his latest engagement with senior members of the RGPF on Tuesday, Dr Mitchell described the pension matter as a crucial one, stating that Government must be practical in its approach.
Dr Mitchell who is also the Minister for National Security, said, “When we are in a position of leadership, we have to demonstrate that ability to lead, particularly on matters that have implications for the entire country. We may solve something today, but when there are implications for future generations — our children and grandchildren, we must be thorough in our decision-making. This pension ruling has enormous implications, not just financial but also legal — the decision impacts the legality of some of the things that are being done now, including Government’s top-up of NIS pension payments.”
The Prime Minister further reiterated that the issue is complex. He said, “It’s not as simple as appeal or don’t appeal, pay or not pay. Even if we agree on compensation, we have to find the money. It’s really not hard and fast, one position or another, we have to deal with this rationally. We will continue our engagements with stakeholders including trade unions, to reach a decision that we can all work with. At the end of the day, this has to be a unified position in the interest of workers, the general population and of the country.”
Despite the challenging nature of the pension issue, the Prime Minister emphasised, “We will work this thing out. We will fix it together, that’s the commitment I make to you today.”
Other matters addressed by the Prime Minister in the almost 2-hour long meeting with police officers, included the necessity of maintaining a safe and peaceful environment, improvements to various police stations, the additional month’s salary provided for in the 2022 budget announcement and the overall performance of the police force.
He commended officers for the continuing good performance recorded and highlighted regional recognition for the RGPF. Dr Mitchell noted the recent announcement that a detective from Grenada secured the Top Crime-Fighter Award for 2021 from the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police; the second time that Grenada will receive this award.
The Prime Minister also commended the RGPF on securing the first runner-up position for the Top Community Policing Initiative and expressed the hope that officers will continue to be motivated to strive for excellence in the execution of their duties.
The questions and comments from police officers included outstanding allowances; improvements to the South St George Police Station, manpower levels within the force, and striking a better balance between male and female recruits.
On the pay and grade review issue, a study for which has already been completed, the Prime Minister endorsed the suggestion by the Permanent Secretary with responsibility for the Department of Public Administration, for an interim solution, while Government prepares to undertake a wider review of the entire public service, to ensure that no group of workers is disadvantaged.