Police officers are working in sub-optimal conditions, regional body complains; Immigration sources voice their concerns, too

The Browne Administration is being urged to follow through,
without delay, on its commitment to address the deplorable working
conditions at the St. John’s Police Station. 

The call comes from the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare
Associations (CFPWA), which says it has taken note of the less-than-
healthy and humane working conditions to which its members in St.
John’s are being subjected.

In a press release dated July 22, 2023, the Federation says that such
conditions, which are seen across the region, cannot persist.

It says it has seen images of local police officers having to offer their
services from outside the mold and termite-infested building; and it
commends them for their decision to continue serving the public
despite these conditions.

The local Association has made representation on several of these
situations in the past, the Federation notes; and, in this regard, it
acknowledges the efforts of Police Welfare Chairperson Marilyn

However, according to Sean McCall, president of the Federation,
there has been too much talk around the region about fixing crime
while police officers have to operate from mold and termite-infested

McCall observes that officers have to go out without the proper
protective and ballistic gear, which prompts the question, “Are our
Governments serious about crime-fighting or is it just a good talking

He says the “CFPWA stands with its members who refuse to operate
under these conditions, as no other Government Department or
agency is accepting these working conditions.”

Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney recently confirmed that the St.
John’s Station is dilapidated, infested, and has serious structural
problems. Accordingly, the Federation is asking who will be held
accountable if a structural failure causes harm or death to a police
officer in that building.

These working conditions are not the failure of only one
department, or the management of the Force, it says, but other
government agencies are failing, as well. 

“What is the purpose of the Public Health or Public Safety
departments?” McCall asks. 

Meanwhile, the local authorities have decided to relocate the officers
of the Criminal Records Office and the Prosecution Office until the
issues are remedied. As a result, the regional body commends
Commissioner Rodney for this swift response and action.

Meanwhile, in another law-enforcement agency, sources in the
Immigration Department are alleging that the chief immigration
officer is unhappy with the treatment being meted out to her by the

They claim that Katrina Yearwood has been working without a
contract for some time now and is considering leaving the post.
One source alleges that the failure to renew her contract – and
regular reminders that she is working without one – are meant to
keep Yearwood in check.

The sources allege, further, that there have been threats to have
Yearwood replaced by another immigration officer who is preferred
by the relevant minister.

There are other allegations, as well, that the situation is the same at
the Intellectual Property Office, which falls under the ambit of the
same Cabinet member.

And yet, the sources claim, the minister managed to renew a
contract for a magistrate who, allegedly, has reached retirement age.