National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said while he understands the challenges facing the police and commended them for their dedication to duty, the Minister of Finance had a difficult job trying to allocate adequate funds to each branch of government.
Hinds was addressing an awards ceremony for police officers in the North Eastern Division at D Cruz Lounge, Santa Cruz, on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier in the programme, president of the police Social Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) acting ASP Gideon Dickson called on Hinds to lobby for a slaary increased for police.
The Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Dr Daryl Dindial, in his counterproposal to trade unions, offered no increase for the period 2014-2017, one per cent for 2018, no further increase for the period 2019-2020, and one per cent for the 2021 negotiating period.
Hinds responded that while the work of the police like other arms of national security was critical to Trinidad and Tobago, it would not be possible given the number of different government agencies competing for more resources.
Using the analogy of Jesus Christ feeding followers using a few fish and loaves of bread, Hinds said the Finance Minister Colm Imbert could not perform a similar miracle with the nation’s budget.
“There are thousands of other divisions and departments all arguing vociferously that what they do is important in the life of the nation.
“The Minister of Finance has to very skilfully and carefully manage the cutting up of this very small cake.
“It is reported that at one stage Jesus Christ was possessed of five loaves and two fishes and was able to share them adequately among the multitude such that they were all very satisfied, but the fellow of whom I just spoke does not have the attributes of Jesus Christ, He is a mere mortal like you and I, Mr Dickson.”
Hinds also called on workers to work harder.
“The economists have said if we improved our productivity and our output and operate optimally, every one of us in the police service and all across the workforce of TT, then the size of the economy will increase by 25 per cent.
“So, Mr Dickson, using the capacity that is available to you, I ask that you encourage the workers for whom you speak that they do more, give a little more, and that way we will increase the size of the cake.”
Aenior superintendent of the North Eastern Division Winston Maharaj said he understood the challenges facing officers in the division and suggested minor equipment could be bought through small fundraising events.
Referring to the North Eastern Division’s Sport and Family Day at the Aranguez Savannah on September 24, Maharaj said the event would be used to raise funds for different expenses.
“It’s not good for us to tell a member of the public who comes into the station for an accident report that our printer isn’t working.
“We are thinking outside the box. We’re not going to be dependent. Because there is a way where you can run your event like a business, legitimately, and that is what we are going to do, embracing the business-type initiative to purchase this minor equipment so we will have satisfied customers.
“It’s a win-win for all.”
Speaking with Newsday after the ceremony, acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob said the police had become less compartmentalised over time and told divisional commanders resources will be provided as soon as possible through a collective approach.