Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dickon Mitchell, has made a strong pitch for members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) who will cast their votes on June 20th to vote for this party for better working and living conditions as part of his transformational agenda for a better Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
Addressing a rally of the NDC at Progress Park in St. Andrew over the weekend, the 44-year old Attorney-at-Law promised the men and women in uniform that they will get a better deal from Congress than under the current New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The Congress leader slammed into Dr. Mitchell who is also the Minister of National Security for failing to address a number of ills affecting police officers over the past 25 years such as; dilapidated police stations with some officers being forced to use buckets to collect rain water from leaking roofs at the entrance of their workplaces.
He made a special plea for those men and women of RGPF, who will be the first set of workers to cast their votes three days before the June 23rd national poll, to think seriously on whether they want the incumbent to remain in office.
“To our law enforcement officers, to our men and women of the Royal Grenada Police Force, particularly those of you who are from St. Andrew’s, you are the first citizens who will cast your votes and we are calling upon you to begin the process of transformation by ensuring that you vote for the transformation of the Royal Grenada Police Force, from a force that is disunited, disheartened, ridiculed, a force that does not have any female representation in the leadership or hierarchy of the force, where men and women are left to serve in substandard and subhuman conditions, where we know right now when the rain has fallen you have buckets and mops and cloth trying to mop up the water from the police stations and substations that you have been made to work in for the last 38 years.
I am asking politely and respectfully for you to begin the process of change and transformation by ensuring that as our first voters, you begin the process of moving the Royal Grenada Police Force and the country of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique forward in the right direction by ensuring that on June 23rd you would have already set the example of voting for the National Democratic Congress or voting for The Heart, and of voting for leadership, that recognises your plight, and the need to transform the Royal Grenada Police Force, so that we can begin the process of transforming Grenada.”
Dickon Mitchell urged the men and women in uniform “to vote for the transformation of the Royal Grenada Police Force into a professional organisation that regains the respect that it once commanded.”
He told NDC supporters that he had witnessed first-hand, the efforts of police officers to put buckets in front of their stations on the small island of Petite Martinique to prevent flooding, as well as protect themselves from electrical shocks.
“So members of the Royal Grenada Police Force, as Leader of the National Democratic Congress …. I say to you that the National Democratic Congress is committed to repairing and rebuilding our police stations throughout the length and breadth of Grenada so that you can work in decent police stations.
To the men and women of the Royal Grenada Police Force who put their lives at risk, we know that since 1995 there has been no pay and grade salary adjustment for you. I therefore assure you that the National Democratic Congress will address that issue.”
The Congress leader also addressed the issue which has come into the forefront of national attention, based on complaints from female police officers, of being sexually harassed and molested on the job by senior police officers from the rank of Inspector upwards.
“To the women who serve in the Royal Grenada Police Force, I assure you that the National Democratic Congress will leave no stone unturned to ensure that as women you are treated with the respect and dignity that you deserve and that you could work without being harassed, bullied and that the cover-ups will be exposed and that you too will get your fair share of the promotions so that the hierarchy of the Royal Grenada Police Force reflects the percentage of women who serve and put their lives at risk for the citizens of Grenada,” he said.
Dickon Mitchell indicated to police officers that a government formed by Congress after the June 23rd general elections “intends to govern Grenada based on merit, not based on political affiliation, not based on who you support as a political party.”
He said: “Your right to vote and your right to support a political party is sacred, but your right to be promoted, your right to be rewarded, should be based on merit, hard work, qualifications and dedication to serving the people of Petite Martinique, Carriacou and Grenada.
I therefore assure all of the men and women of the Royal Grenada Police Force who know that they have received a raw deal, who know that they are not being promoted because they stand for what is being right, that under the National Democratic Congress, we will ensure that the Royal Grenada Police Force becomes a professional organisation, where merit is rewarded, where training is encouraged and we will ensure that there is sufficient planning, training and succession plans in place to make sure, that at all times, the men and women of the Royal Grenada Police Force can carry out their duties on behalf of the citizens,” he said.
Dickon Mitchell also touched on a critical issue confronting police officers about the lack of insurance coverage for “our police officers should they meet in accidents while conducting duties.”
“We know that there is no insurance coverage should you meet in a motor vehicle accident and you are injured. Those are issues that the National Democratic Congress will ensure that the Royal Grenada Police Force can solve and address,” he said.
“It is totally unacceptable that our men and women who put their lives at risk for us do not even have insurance coverage should they meet in a motor vehicle accident while carrying out their duties,” he added.
According to Dickon Mitchell, the current Prime Minister and Minister of National Security has held several meetings with RGPF over the years but is confident that the current Grenadian leader “has never addressed any of those issues I have spoken about tonight.”
He charged that; “all PM Mitchell is concerned about is his own personal safety and not the safety of the men and women of the Royal Grenada Police Force.
And so while he is happy to use you to provide security for him up and down every nook & cranny of Grenada, he’s not concerned about your well-being, he is not concerned about your family well-being, because if he was, he would have ensured that in 2022 our police stations would be modern, first class facilities where you could comfortably and professionally carry out your duties.
Dickon Mitchell also called on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to accept an invitation to engage in a debate with him on national issues of importance for the development of the country.