Police Staff Association demands pay raise for officers

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Insurance also up for negotiation

A pay raise, which police officers say is 18 years overdue, may soon be on the way as the Police Staff Association (PSA) said yesterday that the organization will be agitating for an increase from the government, as it prepares its new fiscal budget.

PSA President Sonny Miller said the association already has people on the ground dealing with the proposed salary increase that it seeks to put forth to the government before May.

“Listen, our members go out there and word hard so we’re putting it together and we’re [going to] present it to the government. Like everyone is saying, ‘this is the people’s time’. So, the police officers are people too so we want our time,” Miller said.

The PSA chief argued that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and other arms of law enforcement have received promotions and raises over the last 10 years, but the police, he claims have been overlooked, although they have had rank increases.

Another matter that he said the association hopes to have addressed is continued insurance for police officers no longer on the front line of duty.

In particular, those officers who leave at the rank of constable, corporal or sergeant – they would get their pension and their pension is not much,” he said.

“We can’t speak to them getting a $2,000 pension for the rest of their life and out of that, if they were to maintain their insurance, it’s like $700 for family coverage. So, in most cases those officers would be getting $1500 to 1600 for family coverage, to keep that, it brings them down to almost $700 or 800 to live off of a month.”

Although the government has stated that the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will provide coverage for all, Miller said as the details of that plan continue to be worked out, former officers continue to suffer.

We have sent out a letter to meet with the minister responsible for NHI so he can outline how is that in particular going to help our members, our former members, police officers,” he said. “I know NHI is for everyone but my major concern is my members.”

Miller who was recently re-elected as chairman of the PSA said, he is hoping to get better benefits for those who remain on the front line.