By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff
Now more than a year of waiting, Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews said he has grown frustrated about the same appalling state of infrastructure in the local police service and is calling on legislators to initiate the recovery plan.
“Here’s the frustration for me: We just had a very wet weekend (a week ago) and I’m sure we all appreciated that … but my officers were sending me video footage and photos from the front desk at Road Town Police Station where water is pouring through on to the officers below,” Commissioner Matthews said.
“We talk about health and safety in the territory, we talk about the welfare of our people but, for me, there is a frustration growing that we are not taking that seriously enough because our buildings need to be watertight, they need to be secure, I need to be able to offer my staff, safe, effective working environments and I can’t do that at the moment. I can’t stand up and say that I can meet the obligations of health and safety at the moment and I think that’s wrong.”
Matthews said they’ve been able to do minor remedial works to the Road Town Police Station, but all that has been done so far was through grants from the United Kingdom.
Public losing confidence
The top cop further said this week that he is concerned not only for his officers and staff but for the public, who he believes is losing confidence in the police because of its gaping infrastructural deficiencies.
Commissioner Matthews noted that things are currently being stalled in the House of Assembly by legislators bickering over the Recovery and Development Plan.
Act now for the sake of the BVI, politicians told
If the plan doesn’t pass, the BVI will not get the financial support it needs to fix its infrastructure so, Matthews, this week, issued an appeal to members of the House.
“Whatever side you’re sitting on in the House of Assembly, I’m appealing to come together for the sake of this territory and get some traction going in terms of this plan because we desperately need it.”
“I can speak on behalf of those people not just working in the police service but who work in the public service who are working really, really hard in desperately difficult conditions … I went to meeting just the other day in the main administration building … but when I looked around in that building and saw some of the conditions some of the people were working in, I was horrified and to me its time to address this now. We’ve got to stop the talking and start the delivery.”
Matthews noted that his statements are not meant to criticize but are to state unadulterated facts.
Now, more than a year, the top cop said the police and the rest of the public sector have “waited long enough”.
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