Leacock backs port workers, vows to return jobs should NDP wins election
July 26, 2013

Leacock backs port workers, vows to return jobs should NDP wins election

The port police who were relieved of their jobs will be returned to their jobs should the New Democratic Party (NDP) win the next general elections.{{more}}

“I telling you that – if you are a port worker who is losing their job make sure you give your name to us because every single one of you who lose your work will get it back under an NDP government,” Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown, St Claire Leacock said on Tuesday at a public rally at Layou.

Leacock boasted that the statement made was “no idle talk.”

“So, if any policeman now is taking the job of the port worker, you will go back to the main force and make room for the people whose jobs you took right now,” he continued.

According to Leacock, he was expecting to meet with the Commissioner of Police to discuss the matter.

“And I will tell him straight up to his face that is what we intend to do,” the Central Kingstown area representative said.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced in Parliament in May that there was going to be some restructuring in the security arrangements at the port.

Gonsalves said then that ill-discipline was not going to be tolerated.

“…There will be restructuring at the port. No if, maybe, or but,” he said.

The Prime Minister said included in the restructuring process was the laying off of 84 persons who are currently employed as port police.

He said that those being laid off will be paid in accordance with the Protection of Employment Act and that they were also welcome to apply to the regular police force.

Gonsalves warned, however, that he was not the one responsible for selecting the new officers and that would be done by the Commissioner of Police.

He added that only 55 port officers would be required after the restructuring was done.

According to the Prime Minister, while he was on a trip abroad, he had been informed that the officers at the port had taken industrial action, and members of the local constabulary had been sent in as replacements.

He said when industrial action was taken at an entity such as a port, it was left unsecured and had the potential of having the country blacklisted by international maritime authorities.

Gonsalves said then that he agreed with a statement made by the president of the Public Service Union (PSU), Cools Vanloo, that the port police should be paid like regular police.

But Gonsalves said that in order for them to be paid like regular officers, they needed to first have the entry qualifications and training, and be put to work the same hours and be subjected to the same discipline as regular police. (DD)