Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Police concerned as debate starts on pensions bill

Published:Friday | March 17, 2017 | 3:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Wilson

Chairman of the Police Federation Sergeant Raymond Wilson has expressed concern that the Government has started debate on the Pensions (Public Service) Act, 2016, when there remains a number of unresolved issues in relation to the police.

Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw, who opened debate on the issue in the Lower House on Wednesday, indicated that the administration would have further dialogue with stakeholders before passing the bill.

However, Wilson told The Gleaner that the federation had asked the Government to delay the start of the debate until the talks were complete, adding that it only got an invitation to return to the table for discussion on Monday.

"We will continue to ask the Government to put on hold the passing of this bill until these matters are properly ventilated and both parties - the police and Government - are fully satisfied that what is on the table will not undermine the effort of the Government to create fiscal sustainability within the context of pension reform," Wilson insisted.

Despite changes to the proposed law, the federation said it had submitted a list of concerns it has with the bill that it wants the Government to address. However, Wilson said that the Federation was mindful that not all its proposals would be accepted.

Wilson said that the Federation, among other things, is still asking the administration to reconsider changes to the current early retirement arrangements, which were negotiated by the police.

Wilson said that discussions were currently under way with the Federation's actuary to review the latest recommendations in the bill. He said that the federation will engage its membership on the matter next Tuesday.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com