The Saint Lucia government has been urged to follow the lead of Trinidad and Tobago in compensating relatives of police officers killed in the line of duty.
In the twin Island republic, relatives of members of the protective services killed in the line of duty are expected to receive $5 million in a compensation package early next year.
According to reports, in 2017, the compensation package was $1 million and increased this year to $2 million.
An Extraordinary issue of the Saint Lucia Government Gazette, Volume 185, Issue 14 dated May 23, 2016, makes provision for compensation to be granted in respect of the protective services in the event of injury or death arising out of the course of employment.
It stipulates an amount equal to three years’ gross salary at the date of death and such entitlements as provided under the National Insurance Corporation Act, the Police Act and the Fire Service Act.
A senior police officer here told St Lucia Times however that the compensation provided for is “nothing.”
“There must be something that is reasonable,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity stated.
He disclosed that the Police Welfare Association (PWA) is currently attempting to negotiate on its own with an insurance company to get get compensation.
PWA President, Travis Chicot, could not be reached for comment.
But the officer, who spoke to St Lucia Times on condition of anonymity, expressed the view that the government should be stepping in to play a greater role.
“I am hoping that this government can take a page from the Trinidad and Tobago government,” he told St Lucia Times, adding that it will not cost the administration much, since over the years few cops have been killed in the line of duty.
“No police officer goes out there wanting to die or get killed or injured,” the officer noted.
“We all want to know that we can see our kids go to university, we can see them graduate, we can see them marry,” the senior official told St Lucia Times.
The officer observed that while the police have taken on the responsibility of ensuring that this country is safe, it could come at the cost of a law enforcer’s life.
“Every police officer wants to ensure that if he or she goes out to fight crime and he or she is injured or killed, his family can be taken care of,” the official said.
The official asserted that wives should not be forced into a second marriage because they cannot survive or care for children.
“Almost every police officer who has died or been killed in the line of duty here, while it may not be many, are now facing hardships – their kids; extended family has to come in to assist. We don’t even hear of them,” it was observed.
The senior officer expressed support for the Trinidad and Tobago way of ensuring that the relatives of police officers who are killed in the line of duty are properly compensated.