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Police Fed Up - Outgoing Police Federation head blasts Gov't about poor working conditions

Published:Wednesday | May 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchirst/Gleaner Writer
Sgt Cecil McCalla


"No more!" That is what outgoing chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation Sergeant Cecil McCalla said to Government regarding the practice of police personnel working overtime and not being properly compensated.

McCalla was addressing a militant gathering of members of the Jamaica Police Federation at its 75th annual joint central conference at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios, yesterday.

"Our rank-and-file members will not work in excess of the hours prescribed without being properly compensated. Slavery done!" McCalla said to raucous applause from the several hundred delegates attending the conference. He noted that the police had been seeking a 40-hour work week from the days when Hugh Shearer was prime minister in the early '70s, and it was not until 2008 that this was agreed to by Government. But he pointed out that while the 40-hour work week was in place, officers were often forced to work long hours beyond that without proper compensation.

McCalla questioned whether the situation meant that the Government was breaking the law by violating aspects of International Labour Organisation legislation. While indicating his respect for those in authority, McCalla called on National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang to deliver a message to Prime Minister Andrew Holness: "You can't run a champagne organisation on a bag-juice budget."

McCalla said that the ascension of Major General Antony Anderson to the position of commissioner of police was the failure of successive administrations to invest in the development of the human capital of the police force.

Chang, in his address to the membership later, acknowledged the concerns of the federation.

"The country has failed to invest in the Force. We have discussed many of these issues in the six weeks that I've been here," he said. "Regarding the 'champagne' comment from Sgt McCalla, it is a very telling point. Unless you give resources to deal with the level of public disorder and criminality, we're giving them [the police] basket to carry water."