Barbados Attorney-General Dale Marshall: Lame Excuses On Police Funding
Not only is Barbados having extreme difficulty in finding new young police recruits, other jurisdictions are actively stealing our best trained and experienced officers and supervisors.
Excerpts from The Nation Newspaper article “Cop Cap” (link here)…
PROSPECTIVE POLICE OFFICERS have been told by Government not to expect “phenomenal salaries”.
Speaking yesterday to the DAILY NATION at the Frank Walcott Building, Culloden Road, St Michael, Attorney-General Dale Marshall said Barbados was not going to offer such remuneration in a bid to recruit 130 constables and other officers to fill a void in the Police Force.
He admitted the risk associated with policing, along with better salaries in other jobs and the active recruitment of Bajan cops by some Caribbean countries, was making it more difficult for the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to end its manpower shortage.
Marshall noted traditional recruiting islands like The Bahamas and Bermuda were now actively seeking police officers from Barbados, and the salaries being offered were phenomenal when compared to Barbadian salaries.
Several constables quit the local force only last month to take up lucrative offers in the Cayman Islands. Constables and sergeants have been taking up positions in overseas forces in recent times.
The Bermuda Police Force is advertising in the local Press for constables and offering a starting salary of $56 000 per annum [equivalent to BDS$112 000]. Bermudan currency is on par to the US dollar. A constable joining the RPBF makes about $23 000 per annum.
“We are not prepared to try to match anybody’s salaries. At the same time, we can’t prevent people from moving from the Royal Barbados Police Force and going abroad,” he said.
Marshall added: “The starting salary for police officers does not compare favourably when measured with other starting salaries . . . . These are some of the reasons why we’ve not been able to recruit the numbers of police officers that we need.”…
The False Economy Of Under-Paying Our Police Officers
Some Bajan fools try to save money by never changing their engine oil… and then wonder why the auto dies before it’s time. Other fools on the island try to save money by paying the police a pauper’s wages – half of what is available elsewhere in the region – and think that they can maintain a viable law enforcement organization staffed with top quality, dedicated career professionals.
And like a driver who hasn’t changed the engine oil in quite a while, but keeps the car waxed and shiny anyway – today Barbados is heading down the dangerous road of neglect. Our government has grandiose plans for international events like Cricket World Cup, new hotels and millionaires’ sub-divisions, but is neglecting the fundamentals that make our island a beautiful and safe place to live.
One of the reasons why the tourists keep coming back with their tourist dollars is that Barbados is a (relatively) safe place to visit or retire to – due in no small measure to the fact that we have a (generally) honest, professional police force that obeys the rule of law as well as enforcing it (generally) without favour.
As we mentioned in our previous post “Best Wishes To Barbados Tourism Minister Noel Lynch”…
Why Is Barbados A Better Tourist Destination Than Other Carib Islands?
One of the conference discussions of great importance to Barbados will be about how to distinguish our “Barbados Brand” and product from so many other small Caribbean islands. Think about it… to the tourists, all the islands and all the beaches generally look the same. What can Barbados offer that others cannot?
Tourist Safety – Security
Think “Tourist Safety – Security” and then compare Jamaica with Barbados. No contest. Barbados is a very safe country. Even our few “bad” areas aren’t really so bad. Jamaica has some of the most beautiful natural sights in the world – in truth, even prettier than Barbados – but many tourists won’t set foot on the island because, as they see it, Jamaica is just not worth the risk…
We in Barbados shouldn’t forget about that when the issue of policing comes up. The Royal Barbados Police Force should be the highest paid, best trained and best equipped policing organization in the Caribbean. The police are the true guardians and promoters of the most important segment of our economy. If the tourists don’t feel safe in Barbados, you can kiss goodbye to about 80% of our gross national revenue.
Any society that is unwilling to make public safety and order a priority will suffer the consequences. And when the economy is primarily tourist based, the consequences of not having a top-notch police force are devastating. Just ask Jamaica.
The Government of Barbados doesn’t seem to understand that making something a “priority” doesn’t mean just saying that it is a priority.
The lack of funding reveals that the Government of Barbados does not believe that law enforcement and public safety are really priorities.