There has been an ongoing discussion with the Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Natalio Wheatley and Commissioner of Police Mark Collins regarding the outstanding increments and allowances owed to members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).
Speaking at a press conference last week, Governor John Rankin
gave an update on the situation when questioned by a member of the local media.
The governor said despite him being responsible for the police, he is not primarily responsible for the budget and finances. Therefore, the issue of outstanding increments and allowances falls on the shoulders of Finance Minister Wheatley.
“Subject to the extraordinary powers towards the payments out of the consolidated fund, that is a matter for the government. But what I do know is that there is a constructive discussion taking place between the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of Finance in relation precisely to the issues raised,” Governor Rankin said.
In response to the same question, Dr Wheatley noted he will have a discussion with the Acting Financial Secretary Jeremiah Frett about the police officers’ outstanding increments.
“As you would have known, we paid some increments and I need to discover whether there is an administrative delay in delivering the increments that have already been paid or whether it is an issue of whether they have been paid at all,” Dr Wheatley said.
“In fact, I do plan to have a discussion with the Commissioner about it as well as the Police Welfare Association (PWA). So, allow me to do some investigations and I will report back on the issue,” the Finance Minister added.
Last month, the Chairman of the PWA, Acting Inspector Sean McCall issued a letter calling on the relevant authorities to implement the necessary systems and functions to ensure all members are paid their outstanding increments and allowances.
McCall said the issues and discrepancies with payment, which in some cases span more than two years, are matters of grave concern and rather troubling as it contributes to the existing annoyance, frustration, and poor morale of RVIPF members.
The PWA Chairman said he understands the issue of increments is not for a lack of funding from the government but a lack of proper procedure which starts at the Police Force’s Human Resources Department.