0

Govt Will Need To Borrow But Will Honour Police Pay Deal

photo

K Peter Turnquest

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said yesterday said the government intends to honour the commitment made by former Prime Minister Perry Christie to pay overtime to Royal Bahamas Police Force officers but “some degree of borrowing would be required” for this to happen.

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Turnquest, who is also minister of finance, said the officers will be paid, but he did not go into details.

“We intend to honour the commitment. Some degree of borrowing would be required to help the government fulfil its obligations,” Mr Turnquest said after a Cabinet meeting Tuesday morning.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames also told reporters on Tuesday that the government is “committed” to paying the officers. However, he said, the Cabinet is determining whether there is sufficient money in the Public Treasury to cover the payments.

“Well, as I said, we have to look and see where it is that we’re at,” Mr Dames said yesterday morning.

“From the outside in, it’s very difficult to say whether there’s money or not. We will begin this process now of seeing exactly where it is that we’re at, what it is that we have, what are some of the challenges that we will face moving in, and we’ll take it from there.”

At a rally on April 27, days before law enforcement officers voted in the May 3 advanced poll, Mr Christie announced that the government will finally pay RBPF officers for working 12-hour shifts, with the first payment of the outstanding sum to be issued on May 29.

He said the second instalment in overtime pay would come “in the next budget cycle,” but Mr Christie was not more specific. He said officers who have died or are retired will be paid in full.

However, the PLP lost the general election to the FNM on May 10.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, speaking during a rally in the Central and South Eleuthera constituency in late April, said his party, if it won the election, would honour a court ruling and pay officers their overtime payments. In opposition at the time, Dr Minnis went on to suggest that in a last-ditch effort to win over the support of the law enforcement agencies, Mr Christie made the promise to pay on May 29 – after the general election.

Earlier this month, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told FNM supporters at a rally that no matter which party won the election, the government would be unable to pay police officers overtime on May 29 because the money was not in the Public Treasury.

Last May, the Court of Appeal upheld a landmark Supreme Court ruling ordering the government to compensate police officers for working 12-hour shifts at different periods in 2013 and 2014. The RBPF introduced 12-hour work shifts for officers in an attempt to get crime under control in September 2013.

The appellate court had dismissed the government’s appeal against Supreme Court Justice Milton Evans’ ruling that a Force Order issued by former Police Commissioner Paul Farquharson in 2003 was relevant to the case as it mandated that public officers be paid when they work for more than 40 hours in a normal working week.

At the time, the PSA had estimated that if the choice is made to pay the officers, the government could end up paying as much as $16.4m in overtime pay. However, attorney Wayne Munroe, QC, who represents the PSA, said at the time that Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade would determine whether to pay officers or to give them a proportionate amount of time off.

The Supreme Court ordered that the compensation be received within a year.

Comments

TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

Comrades! These rush to borrow millions more alternate realities have no connection to how KP, so criticized the PLP's reckless borrowing policies - and here he is prepared to borrow to pay for the PLP's election spending promises.
Minister KP, exactly how much will this new borrowing cost each and every citizen? You are well on your way to borrowing your first BILLION dollars - and you will reach your BILLION target - in less than 12 months from May 10, 2017.
This leads me to believe that KP, has no rubber in his brakes to stop with the borrowing policies of the PLP's.

0

MassExodus 2 years, 4 months ago

Tal your an idiot. There is no rush. YOUR PERRY CHRISTIE did not pay these officers for work already performed. They need to be paid if they worked. Simple mathematics tells you whether you have the money to pay them or not. If PERRY promised to pay them on May 29th, and there is no money in the treasury to pay them they need to borrow. They will not have more money in the treasury until VAT payments hit and VAT payments change each month depending on whether the economy is moving/people are spending. Yall are something else.

1

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 4 months ago

We want to hear where you plan to cut costs Mr. Turnquest - not just how you plan to spend and borrow more!

0

MassExodus 2 years, 4 months ago

Well_reality give Turnquest a chance. He has to pay the bills the former administration you support DIDN'T PAY, but promised to pay on May 29th... Like seriously you PLP fools really thought let's put in writing and commit to this overtime before we know whether we will be there to follow it through. ALL TURNQUEST IS DOING IS CLEANING UP PLP MESS...

1

DreamerX 2 years, 4 months ago

Well to be honest, he is caving to pressure of the PR. The FNM could have spent time to review the promotions and seek out in the least the more egregious promotions for support, rather than sticking to course. While I would approve of allowing the promotions to stand, such does not line up with FNM promises to undo, correct and bring into the light, PLP corruption.

0

sheeprunner12 2 years, 4 months ago

Peter and Marvin need to ask the question .......... Why does The Bahamas need 4000 police officers?????........... How many of the officers are up for retirement, already retired/ pensioned and still working, or rehired for political favours????? ........ Cleanup the mess first and then pay those who really deserve to be on active duty

1

MassExodus 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes but these officers earned overtime pay, and Perry promised to pay them on May 29th. All Turnquest is doing is cleaning up Perry mess, and it may mean we have to borrow to do it, because apparently there isn't enough in the treasury to meet our current financial obligations and pay the overtime.

0

killemwitdakno 2 years, 4 months ago

Opposition didn't say that was how it would be funded when PLP promised it.

1

MassExodus 2 years, 4 months ago

The PLP never said that's how it would be funded no they didn't...

0

sheeprunner12 2 years, 4 months ago

Well ........... If the funds are not available, how can you pay???? ...... Or maybe that is what the average person does in this country .... BEG, STEAL or BORROW

0

MassExodus 2 years, 4 months ago

That's a great question! Do you want me to tell you what I think happened? Well I will tell you anyway. The PLP realized they would at least lose the vote of the police force, so they promised to pay the overtime by May 29th, in the hope that they would get the vote from the police force, and at the same time drum up some good PR, meanstwhile Papa was on the campaign trail telling voters facts that the sitting government didn't actually have the money in the treasury to pay the police officers during the fiscal period, so they basically made a pledge for money they did not have after their government was already dissolved. Now the FNM have to go in a pick up the pieces. They are demonstrating that to us that the PLP left us with nothing in the treasury, this is why they are saying they will pay the overtime but they will have to borrow money as their is none in the treasury. If the PLP had gotten in they would have had to borrow the money, because it is not there so don't go blaming the FNM Tal, Well, Reality, etc.

0

Socrates 2 years, 4 months ago

Big problem.. what reckless governments we have in the history of this Bahamas... you never borrow to pay wages, never. clearly we have committed to things we cant afford. until we learn to accept reality for what it is and not what we want it to be, we can never arrest this slide deeper into debt and eventually poverty for all..

1

MassExodus 2 years, 4 months ago

Agreed on never borrowing to pay wages. I don't think the FNM would go down this road in the future, but it is about prudent planning. Why Perry and the PLP would ever make this commitment without the funds is just wrong.

0

Jesusiscomingsoon 2 years, 4 months ago

"The borrower is servant to the lender." Getting out of debt is ideal.

0

pablojay 2 years, 4 months ago

Our hard working officers have been promised their money by the previous government and i think that the present one is morally bound to honour that promise.There was also the possibility that had the PLP been reelected,they may have put in on the back burner,citing unforeseen circumstances.There are times in life when a commitment should be honoured, even if it hurts to do so. I believe that this is one of them.

1

TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

Comrades! The reds KP, now MOF, was relentless in campaigning against the PLP's disregard for borrowing money in the name the citizens - now the only question is - how long before KP has make excuses for the first BILLION dollars borrowed in name of citizens - and I say it will be met within the reds first 11 months in office from May 10, 2017.
Comrades, haven't we previously witnessed the bullish reds bad borrowing of billions of dollars and it almost wrecked the colony. They were a dangerous government before and will be again...It's just of the shortage of time for the reds borrowing clock to strike the BILLION dollars hour!
Borrowing to pay off the election promises of the previous PLP government is an irresponsible act!

0

sheeprunner12 2 years, 4 months ago

This new FNM government can (and must) take a strong moral position ....... If the money is not there, we will not borrow to satisfy mere pleasurable concerns ........ Borrowing should be restricted to items that will add value to the economy in terms of infrastructural projects to stimulate the economy of specific sectors or communities .......... but to borrow money to pay overtime to police officers is not justifiable at this time of fiscal crisis in government ...... The police will not starve if they are told that they must live off their well-paying salaries (those temporary & contract workers making $800-$1000 per month should be considered first)

1

Publius 2 years, 4 months ago

If the money is not there, do not borrow to pay it. When you can see your way clear to paying it, do so. Successive governments refuse to make tough decisions when it comes to our tax dollars and how they are to be spent. It is why we are where we are today.

1

Islandboy242242 2 years, 4 months ago

Booby traps have been sprung, now the people gotta be paid. What about the Bahamar booby trap that the dump and BPL must be fixed by year end, no way we have the $$$ to pay for that right now.

0

Sign in to comment