PM's security team to be sent home in tranches

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 05:00

Officers attached to the Special Security Unit at the Office of the Prime (OPM) Minister have been told they would be sent home in tranches once the Police Service has the manpower to replace them.

The officers were called to a meeting this week at the Prime Minister Office where they were told by recently appointed deputy permanent secretary in the office of the Prime Minister, Debra Parkinson, and the director of Legal Affairs in the OPM, Nisha Cardinez, that they were being replaced by police and army officers. 

But in the first instance 30 of them will be replaced and the remaining 42 will stay on the job pending an allocation of police officers to fill the void.

But there was no indication as to how soon the first batch of officers would be sent home.

Former army officer Curtis Douglas, who heads the unit, said discussions “went well” but he referred all questions to the Prime Minister’s press secretary, Arlene Gorin George. The T&T Guardian was unable to contact her.

Officers who attended the meeting said there was a suggestion from the floor that they be re-absorbed as SRPs to fill the roles of the police officers given the crime situation and the manpower issues in the Police Service.

However, the deputy PS and the director of Legal Affairs told them they had no authority to do what they were asking.

The officers were told the matter was still in the hands of the Chief Personnel Officer who would determine the package they would receive once they were sent home.

Officers had asked that they be paid gratuities based on the life of their contracts and they be paid for the remaining months of their contract but the T&T Guardian understands there is a clause in the contract which indicates that one month salary would be paid on termination. That we were told was being reviewed.

The special security unit was set up by the late prime minister Patrick Manning and members were employed at the Prime Minister’s residence, the Diplomatic Centre and the Office of the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the UNC has expressed concern at the development. Rudy Indarsingh described the decision to send the officers home as “reckless, especially in a time of economic strife.”

SOURCE: (Rosemarie Sant)