Fri | Dec 15, 2017

The rule remains! - Chuck says amendments preventing policemen and women from resigning too early still stands

Published:Friday | November 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Chuck
Samuels
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Justice Minister Delroy Chuck is insisting that penalties will be imposed on members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force for breaches of their contract.

In a letter dated November 20 directed to the attorney for the police federation, Bert Samuels, Chuck reiterated that the six-month notice that is now required before policemen and women can resign is a reasonable request.

Samuels had directed a letter to the minister on November 9, but which was received by Chuck on November 10, outlining concerns raised by the police about the new amendments.

Important also is that the letter highlighted that members of the force will be bound to complete all investigations and court cases they have started, before they can resign.

"I can only urge police officers to comply with the terms and conditions of their contract, to avoid any penalty that may be imposed for its breach. You will appreciate that it takes at least six months to train new recruits to serve in the police force, and thus, the requirement to give six months' notice is quite reasonable. In addition, police must also ensure that all outstanding matters they are dealing with, especially investigations and court cases, be properly dealt with before resignation."

 

OBTAIN PERMISSION

 

The letter further outlined that the "changes brought by the ZOSO (Zones of Special Operations law) in no way or form affect the contract or service of the police and members of the Federation whom you represent. The contract of service requires an officer who intends to resign, to give six months notice or obtain permission from the Commissioner of Police. These requirements have not changed."

"What has changed is the penalty for breach of contract which is a statutory provision. Amendment to a statute is a matter for the legislature that approved the increased maximum penalty from $20 to $250, 000. It should be noted that the penalty of $20 existed from 1935 and converted from pounds to dollars after Jamaica's Independence. Your letter intimated that your clients' members were not consulted, which would be most inappropriate for lawmakers to consult the potential law breakers to determine the appropriate penalty to comply with the statute."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com