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Speed up prison promotion process

Published: 
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Association knocks PSC tardiness
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Prison Officers’ Association president Ceron Richards. Photo by: Nicole Drayton

There have been no promotions for Second Division prison officers for the past two years due to a delay by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in setting the criteria and selection process.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Prison Officers’ Association president Ceron Richards accused the PSC of hampering the promotion process by its tardiness to iron out the issue.

“There is a need to move quickly on this matter as it has the ability to undermine the overall performance of officers,” Richards said.

Richards said the issue arose in 2016 when a promotion policy for the rank of Prison Officer 11 and Prisons Supervisor, as set in a general order from 2011, expired. The PSC attempted to modify the policy but the move was opposed by both the association and prison administration. In April, the association sent a pre-action protocol letter to the PSC threatening legal action over the change.

“In response to the letter, they (PSC) said it would take no further action on the issue unless all parties agreed on the way forward,” Richards said. Since then, there has been no update from the PSC, he said.

Richards claimed that the delay left prison officers dissatisfied, disenchanted and demotivated.

“You would understand that officers closest to retirement would be feeling the pinch because they were eligible for promotion years ago. They would have sat and passed examinations, gotten educational qualifications and now they are at the mercy of the PSC,” Richards said.

Richards also encouraged the PSC to promote officers who were eligible before the previous policy expired. He suggested that Government reconsider the antiquated system of promotion of public servants including prison officers.

Issues with the promotion procedure are not unique to the Prison Service as the T&T Police Service (TTPS) regularly faces litigation from its members over its policy.

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