Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Police getting over ‘mystery illness’ - More than 1,700 still sick after 1,000 resume duties

Published:Saturday | December 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Rank-and-file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), who have been reporting ill since last week, are apparently on the mend.

In a release yesterday, the JCF said that 1,712 of its members were out sick with a 'mystery illness', down from a high of 2,730 last Wednesday.

"The Jamaica Constabulary Force is at this time clarifying information being circulated in sections of the media that more than 6,000 police had reported sick. The JCF is categorically stating that the number being circulated is incorrect," stated the release.

"The Jamaica Constabulary Force is committed to our sworn duty to serve, protect, and reassure the citizens of Jamaica," added the cops.

Several members of the Force had become 'ill' since late last week, not showing up for duty.

It is believed that the police were responding to the failure of the Government to increase a six per cent wage offer over two years that has been placed on the table.

In the meantime, the Jamaica Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file members of the Force, said it was flabbergasted and blindsided by comments reported in the media about when the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) received both letters it sent to Prime Minister Andrew Holness requesting that he intervene in the wage dispute.

Sergeant Cecil McCalla, general secretary of the Federation, said that the first letter asking for a meeting with Holness was sent via fax on December 20 and subsequently hand-delivered on December 21.

According to McCalla, the correspondence specified that having met with Minister of Finance Audley Shaw and his team on numerous occasions, there had been no meaningful consensus as it concerned the salary negotiation for the 2017-2019 period, and the Federation was requesting an urgent meeting with him to attain a timely and reasonable outcome to these lengthy negotiations.

McCalla said that the Federation was disappointed that the OPM was just responding to the request but stressed that it was "anxiously" awaiting that meeting with the prime minister.