National Security Minister Hermangild Francis Tuesday concluded a meeting with representatives of the Police Welfare Association (PWA).
Francis had earlier chided the PWA for meeting recently with opposition leader, Philip J. Pierre, even before meeting him.
Francis was of the view that the organisation should have met first with the Police Commissioner, then with him as minister and subsequently with Pierre.
Pierre had dismissed the minister’s remarks as being ‘petty’.
Francis said after his meeting Tuesday with the PWA that the two sides discussed ‘normal’ issues including conditions of work, salary increases and manpower problems.
The minister said the issue of IMPACS also came up and he indicated that the matter was with the DPP who will decide what course of action has to be taken.
“As the minister, I can’t interfere with the DPP’s work,” he said.
The former Deputy Police Commissioner said the meeting with the PWA was cordial.
“I have always had cordial meetings with my Police Welfare Association – there isn’t any issue with us,” Francis asserted.
Regarding the protocol issue he had raised when the PWA met with the leader of the opposition, Francis disclosed that the organisation had written to him in his capacity as minister, seeking a meeting.
“It was a situation where they would tell me what date they wanted to have the meeting or I could have put a date and that’s where the discussion was at the time – they could have indicated what date they wanted or my secretary could have asked me for a date and I would have given them the date,” Francis explained.
“So we were each waiting for each other,” he said.
Francis said the next step is to continue the dialogue and make sure he can assist the PWA, especially in regard to improving the condition of police stations and looking at the promotions policy which he said a lot of officers are annoyed about.
PWA Public Relations Officer Zachary Hippolyte said the meeting with Francis was a very good and fruitful one.
Hippolyte acknowledged that the minister had concerns about the PWA having met first with the leader of the opposition.
“We understand his concern and we are okay – we have ironed out this issue and we are ready to work for the benefit of our members,” he said
Hippolyte disclosed that both sides agreed to hold regular meetings to discuss issues, think of solutions and implement them for the betterment of Saint Lucia.