No easy task
Barbados cannot afford to simply lower the retirement age for police officers. Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, reacting to such a recent suggestion from his Opposition Barbados Labour Party predecessor, Dale Marshall, said the current manpower challenges within the Royal Barbados Police Force meant such a policy would be challenging.
The St. Philip South MP was speaking in the House of Assembly this morning as he led off debate on a more than half million money resolution, much of which was to pay salaries and the remuneration to several departments within his ministry. Last month Marshall, commenting in the context of criminal charges pending against some lawmen, said it was time for the police retirement age to be lowered as well as having continuous psychological assessment of these individuals.
But Brathwaite, noting that the suggestion was not new and had been canvassed by both the BLP and Democratic Labour Party, said such a significant measure would have to be given careful thought.
“At at time when you find it difficult to recruit young officers, at a time when across Barbados you are begging young men
in particular, because there is no shortage of young women, to come into the Royal Barbados Police Force, if you automatically decide that you are going to allow more of them to go home where will you find the replacements,” he asked? “I don’t believe in mouthing off for the sake of [it], it must take some thought and it must make sense because if you allow 200 police officers to go home immediately, understand that we don’t have 200 replacements, understand that we would be shooting ourselves in the foot.
“So I don’t believe in saying things for the sake of saying them, for the sake of sounding good, like the other side, … but they like to do that, that’s how they behave,” he added. Brathwaite agreed there was a need to examine the RPBF and “identify all the issues that prevent them from being more productive, but that this “must be done with careful thought and careful analysis of their wants and needs, but within the framework of the overall governance of this country, within the framework of a budget, in terms of what we can afford”.
“And even in difficult times we have been giving the Royal Barbados Police Force as much as possible … the things that they want to do their jobs. Even in difficulties times we were able to move Black Rock Police Station from the hell hole that it was across the street to better accommodation,” he stated. (SC)