Specials demand overdue early retirement incentives

RUNAWAY BAY, St Ann — A number of retirees from the island Special Constabulary Force have not been paid funds owed to them under a scheme approved by Cabinet in 2011 to facilitate the early retirement of members.

The disclosure was made Thursday by head of the Special Constabulary Force Association, Inspector Andrew Johnson, as he addressed the association’s 29th joint conference in Runaway Bay. He said members are being told that, although hey have been approved, there is no money to pay them.

But he wants those who have already retired to be paid what is due to them as many need the money to take care of expenses, including medical bills.

“This is cruel and appears to be very uncaring. [This is no way] to treat those who have given years of selfless service to their country,” Johnson said, arguing that it should have been properly communicated to the retirees that the money was not available.

“We are insisting that those who have gone off already under this scheme be paid,” he said, noting that members are being asked to work another two years due to the inability of the money being paid over.

Responding, Minister of National Security Peter Bunting blamed the delay on an administrative glitch.

Bunting explained that each year a certain amount is allocated for the early retirement incentive, but those responsible for approving early retirement were not aligning approvals with the ministry’s budget which has resulted in the problem.

“They were not reconciling the number of approvals against the budget,” he said.

This, he explained, has led to the approval of more retirees than those budgeted for, resulting in a carry-over into this financial year.

However, the money allocated for incentive payment is not enough to cover the backlog, forcing the ministry to suspend approvals for now.

He confirmed that due to the financial constraints, some members who have been approved, and who are willing and able to work, are asked to consider working for another two years.

“Persons in extreme situations will be given priority,” he added.

In the meantime, he urged the group to sign a wage restraint agreement with the Government, citing that there are benefits to be had from doing so.

He also encouraged them to place their concerns on the table when they meet shortly with minister with responsibility for the public service in the Ministry of Finance, Horace Dalley.

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