Police officers keep eye on protesters near parliament on Tuesday

Minister for National Security and Justice, Rayburn Blackmoore, has commended the members of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force for their diligence in carrying out their duties saying that they have “made us as Dominicans and the rest of the world proud.”

Police officers were said to be on sickout on Tuesday, May 23 but Blackmoore said only 56 officers called in sick for reasons unknown.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday May 24th 2017, Blackmoore said members of the Police Force have been understanding in the oath that they have taken to serve the country, and in return the government has acted in their favor.

“The majority of the police officers in this beautiful country, Madam Speaker know that the Dominica Labour Party, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, has done well for the Dominica Police Force,” he stated. “I am tying that to the fact that the government continues to provide for the police to ensure that the police carries out his work efficiently and well.”

Blackmoore stated that the police authority carries out its services for the good of the country, as recited in its oath, and not for political affiliation.

“Nowhere in this oath has said that I will serve the Dominica Labour Party or the United Workers Party. A police officer serves the people of Dominica, the country of Dominica and when we go to them, we have to have the assurance that the police officers have our backs, Madam Speaker,” Blackmoore said.

He added that attempts to, in some way, “construe or bite into” the rhetoric of a political party, cannot be identified as serving the country.

The government and the police, represented by the Police Welfare Association, have been at odds over the salary negotiations for 2015-2018 triennium with the association rejecting a wage freeze for the period and asking for 15 percent salary increase.

Blackmoore said the sickout on Tuesday was not due to a breakdown in the negotiation process.

“I have been advised by the Labor Commissioner that negotiations between the government negotiating team and the police haven’t experienced any breakdown Madam Speaker,” he said. “The question is, the 56 police officers who reported sick yesterday, Madam Speaker, what was the reason?”