The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The Po­lice Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion, at a press con­fer­ence on Wednes­day, an­nounced that it has cut ties with the Trade Union Fed­er­a­tion (TUF). Their re­la­tion­ship be­gan twelve years ago. Travis Chicot, Pres­i­dent of the PWA, ex­plained that the de­ci­sion was made by way of a man­date from the mem­ber­ship, with the ma­jor­ity vot­ing to part ways. The PWA pres­i­dent said they had “ben­e­fit­ted at some points” but stand now to do bet­ter on their own. Said Chicot: “We must un­der­stand we are ex­ist­ing at a time and in en­vi­ron­ment where we, the po­lice force, must ar­tic­u­late, ne­go­ti­ate and ag­i­tate for what's best for our mem­bers.

“We all know the say­ing, 'To whom much is given, much is ex­pected', and we know this has not been the case for the po­lice. We have been given very lit­tle, while much has been ex­pected.” Nev­er­the­less, he says the force has pro­duced much be­cause po­lice of­fi­cers put the coun­try first.

Chicot in­di­cated that in the com­ing days and weeks the PWA will be ar­tic­u­lat­ing to the gov­ern­ment its po­si­tion re­gard­ing the needs and work­ing con­di­tions of mem­bers. “We are re­ally press­ing for fringe ben­e­fits,” he said. “We're look­ing for ev­ery­thing we can get from this coun­try in eq­uity be­cause we con­tinue to serve, and we con­tinue to in­vest in this coun­try as po­lice of­fi­cers.” He says the PWA be­lieves that when cash can­not be given, some­thing else can, “to bring ease” to po­lice of­fi­cers.

The TUF will con­tinue to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for po­lice salary ne­go­ti­a­tions. Will this ar­range­ment cause dif­fi­cul­ties? Chicot doesn't think so. He says the PWA will sit along­side the TUF to add their voice when re­quired. The PWA's po­si­tion on salaries is sim­ple: they want an in­crease, and ne­go­ti­a­tions “must con­clude be­fore March 2019”. Chicot did not rule out pos­si­bly re­join­ing TUF.

Look­ing for­ward to a brighter 2019. (L-R) PWA Vice pres­i­dent Nigel Jawahir, pres­i­dent Travis Chicot and sec­re­tary Ajariah Fran­cois.

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