Police Staff Association (PSA) Chairman Sergeant Sonny Miller accused Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest of being “misinformed” when he said all police officers except for “some reserve officers” were paid the $1,400 lump sum payment promised by the prime minister.
Last week, Turnquest said that as far as he is aware all permanent police officers received the payment. But he admitted that “one or two” may have been omitted in error.
“As far as I’m aware, all police officers were paid,” Turnquest said.
“You may have had some reserve officers that may not have gotten paid.
“The program is really geared towards permanent and pensionable public servants, and we believe we have covered most of that. There may be one or two that have been omitted by error or omission, but by and large we believe that we have met our commitment to the public service in that regard.”
Miller refuted, saying: “The thing is, with him, he either has been misled or he was misinformed because he’s saying that based on his information, the only folks that weren’t paid were reservists. That is not the case.”
Minister of National Insurance and Public Service Brensil Rolle has clarified that members of the uniformed branches (police, customs, defence force, immigration, etc.) are included among those who were to receive the payment; and that contract workers hired outside the Public Service Commission are included among those who would not.
Miller previously said that of about 4,000 officers in the association, over 300 were excluded. He said that only officers who have achieved 25 years of service and “reached pension” were excluded, noting that those officers are on year-to-year contracts.
However, he stressed that those officers are “still serving members” of the police force and added that they feel “slighted” by the exclusion.
He also said the association has a major problem that no one explained why the officers were excluded, and that he referred the matter to Minister of National Security Marvin Dames who promised to look into it.
On Saturday, he told The Guardian that he contacted another official following Turnquest’s comments.
“So that is why I spoke with [the minister’s] aide yesterday and I’ll give him until Monday,” Miller said.
“I need to speak with him on that and let him know that he was misinformed and he needs to fix it.”
Since Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the lump sum payments earlier this month, there has been some confusion regarding eligibility and timelines, among other concerns.
Minnis originally told reporters, “What I can say at this particular point in time is that those in the public service, that is immigration, customs, police, defence force, teachers, PHA (Public Hospitals Authority), doctors and nurses, they would receive a lump sum payment in their pay check the end of this month — $1,400.”
Rolle then said it was government’s intention to pay all 22,000 public service employees, including those who are not permanent or pensionable; however he later confirmed that not all workers would be eligible to receive the payment after all.
He added that the exercise cost $30 million.
Over 300 officers in staff association were ‘excluded’