DPM: Cabinet to review police officers excluded from lump sum

DPM: Cabinet to review police officers excluded from lump sum
Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Finance K Peter Turnquest (file photo) (file photo)

Govt. careful to ensure consistency throughout the service, says minister

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday the Cabinet will review the more than 300 officers who were excluded from the holiday lump sum payments.

Police Staff Association (PSA) Chairman Sonny Miller said those officers, who go out and serve and protect members of the public each day, felt slighted.

Prompted to respond to the matter at the 2020 New Year’s Junkanoo Parade, Turnquest said Cabinet will look to “see whether there are any adjustments that can be made” based on the information brought to light by Miller.

“There is a question that we are going to have to resolve and that is the officers that he is speaking about are year to year, so they would have completed their terms of service — 25 years — and then they are year to year after that,” he said.

“They sign a contract every year after that. We have to get some clarity from the minister and Cabinet will have to decide whether that class of officers is included in the original intent with respect to permanent, pensionable, full-time employees.

Miller said: “They are a little unique because of that situation. As I say, officers apparently work 25 years and then at that point they retire, and then, they go on a year-to-year contract where they get their salary plus 50 percent of their pension or something of this nature.

“That is why they were missed out of this. We are going to have to go back and look at that to see how we classify them for this purpose and hopefully we can come to an amicable resolution to the issue.”

However, Turnquest said the government has to be careful with the precedent it sets.

“We want to be careful that we don’t open that box because once you open the box of quote on quote, contract workers or year to year workers, then that becomes a huge issue for us, so we just want to make sure that we are consistent throughout the service with respect to who gets the grant.

Last month, Minister of Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle confirmed who would be paid the $1,400 holiday lump sum.

This included BPSU members, teachers, permanent weekly paid employees, uniformed branches (police, defense force, immigration, customs etc.), Public Hospitals Authority staff – including doctors and nurses.

He said those who will not receive the payment include: other government authorities and corporations, members of the judicial branch, contract workers hired outside the public service commission, 52 week program employees, air traffic controllers, and ministers and MPs.