Prison officers predict ‘crisis’ if PSC assessments stand

Date: 
Monday, July 13, 2020 - 20:00

For years, this country’s Prison Service, through its union, has been highlighting issues that affect the workflow and manpower of officers at correctional facilities.

Now, according to President of the Prison Officers’ Association Cerron Richards, there can be more problems in the pipeline if the Public Service Commission keeps its assessment of officers for the period 2011-2014.

“We are going to approach a crisis,” Richards said.

“The majority of our officers on the basis of what unfolded in that assessment has been left totally aggrieved,” he continued.

Richards said these officers make up mainly middle management and one of their roles is to connect upper and lower management.

“They are the key persons to implement and drive the government’s agenda for the prison service,” he said.

He said their dissatisfaction can lead to the detriment of the Prison Service and bring total chaos, something they cannot afford.

At a press conference on Monday, Richards suggested the PSC uses appraisals from 2008-2010. He said the evaluation system between 2011-2014 was flawed as officers had no clear guidelines or objectives.

“We have a promotion system that taking years for the commission to actually do its work,” Richards said.

The president noted that officers were told about their appraisal in 2017 and will be rated by people who were not present at the time.

However, he called on someone who was.

“We are calling on Miss Parkinson,” he said.

“She knows, she worked with the Prison Service,” he continued.

Richards requested an urgent meeting with the Director of Personnel Administration of the Public Service Commission Debra Parkinson.

“She knows the ills, what needs to be done,” Richards said.

The president waved a document he said was signed by former Prison Commissioner Sterling Stewart that confirmed the flawed performance management system.

Richards said they warned the association that the assessments would have brought disenchantment amongst officers but they did not listen.

Guardian Media tried calling the PSC but calls went unanswered.

The PSC was established by Trinidad and Tobago Order in Council 1950.