June 4, 2010
Retirement age raised for Corporals, Constables

Corporals and Constables of the Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force can now retire at the age of 55 instead of 50.{{more}}

This was made possible four months after Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of National Security, told the nation he would amend the Police Act to make provision in respect of the age of retirement of a constable or non commissioned officer of the police force.

On Friday, May 28, 2010, the Police (Amendment) Bill, 2010, was successfully taken through its stages.

“This is an amendment which the members of the police force will be very happy about. Currently, under Section 34 of the Police Act Chapter 280, it states that no pension shall be granted (A) to any Constable or Non-Commissioned Officer of the Force below the rank of Sergeant who has not either attained the age of 50 or served in the Force for 20 years,” said Gonsalves.

Gonsalves also made reference of Section 40 of the Police Act which stipulates that every Constable or Non-Commissioned Officer below the rank of Sergeant should retire from the Police Force upon attaining the age of 50.

The prime minister described the Police Act as an “Old Colonial Act”.

“We have a lot of strong, intelligent, good policemen and women, Constables and Corporals, and they had to leave at 50,” said Gonsalves.

He stressed that some persons agree with the stance of the Police Act but this should not be the case.

According to Gonsalves, even though there are more opportunities at the top for Sergeants and above, there still remain lots of police officers who at age 50 are Constables.

The prime minister pointed out that police officers still have the option to leave at 50 but they would have to express their interest to Cabinet in writing within a year of the commencement of the law.

He said the new measure is a part of the reform of the Police Force.

Gonsalves stated that the morale of the Police Force is on a high that a member of his security detail who had no Ordinary Level subjects when he joined the unit now holds nine O’levels. He said that officer is now contemplating what programme he should pursue at university.(HN)