Police officers among new infections in GB
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As cases of the coronavirus explode in Grand Bahama, Police Staff Association (PSA) Executive Chairman Sergeant Sonny Miller said fears have grown among officers, some of whom have tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.
Miller commended the unreserved willingness of officers to remain on the frontlines, particularly as Grand Bahama prepares for a potential complete lockdown.
He was unable to provide further details on the number of officers who have been infected, but pointed to the latest case of Deputy Prime Minister’s police aide testing positive for the virus in Grand Bahama last Friday.
The deputy prime minister tested negative for the virus and has opted for voluntary self-quarantine.
“The numbers in Grand Bahama have skyrocketed, which also included police officers,” Miller told Eyewitness News, though he said he was not at liberty to provide the figures.
“Police officers have tested positive and I can say to you that the members in the frontlines, the Police Staff Association’s members in the frontlines, have shown signs of being in fear…
“But one thing I must say is they have taken the approach for country above self and we are continuing… despite what’s going on in Grand Bahama now.
“The members in Grand Bahama are very alert, very cautious as to what they do.
“We have been improving on what we do as police officers and staying in line with it, but the commissioner of police, in terms of resources, has allocated — through the assistant commissioner of police for Grand Bahama — resources.
“Whether they are sufficient or not, but I can tell you we have doubled up, the commissioner has doubled his efforts in trying to ensure that the officers in Grand Bahama have sufficient resources as they go about their duties.”
The association chairman said while he does not wish to consider the death of an officer due to COVID-19, there are concerns about the existing insurance policy for officers.
He said an alternative policy proposal which provides additional coverage and could save the Treasury significant funds is before the government.
“Let’s sign off on that,” he urged.
“We need that. It includes vision, dental, death benefits, and all sorts of stuff. Let’s sign off on that because my members need that. COVID-19 is at our steps right now, right now. And as the first vice president in the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Association, I am embarrassed because there are Caribbean countries like BVI (British Virgin Islands), Grenada, that have no active cases and their association has almost relaxed with protocols in place. And my commissioner is working twice as hard to ensure that these officers are supplied.”
He continued: “I therefore ask the government to help us. You have a medical insurance plan on your desk. Let’s sign off on it and don’t tell us you got us, show us it.”
Miller also said the commissioner has assured officers who require quarantine due to exposure will not see their vacation affected. He said there had been some questions about this from the membership.
As of yesterday, there have been 69 new cases since the country’s borders fully reopened on July 1.
Fifty-one of those new cases have been recorded on Grand Bahama — nearly half the number of total cases nationwide up until the end of June.