Police cry foul over negotiations
The Bermuda Police Association has accused the Government of “ill feelings” in its employment negotiations.
In a statement sent out this evening, Sergeant Andrew Harewood, the chairman of the BPA, said the Government's refusal to honour a partial agreement struck in May could cause negotiations to break down.
Mr Harewood said the Government had “recently entered into partial agreements with other unions”.
He added: “We strongly question whether the Government's unlawful actions are as a result of the events of the 2nd of December, 2016.”
The date marks a clash between police and protesters outside the House of Assembly in which officers were assaulted and pepper spray was used on members of the public.
Mr Harewood said there was a fear that talks could falter “due to the Government's ill feelings towards the Bermuda Police Service following these events”.
He thanked the independent Public Sector Negotiation Team, comprising Judith-Hall Bean, the chairwoman, with Vincent Hollinsid and Orin Simmons, and said talks had been ongoing for the past 18 months.
Four outstanding proposals remained to be settled, he said, including Government Employee Health Insurance and legal coverage for police officers.
Mr Harewood said it had been agreed that the matters would be resolved after the signing of the partial agreement.
Although that agreement was reached on May 9, Mr Haywood said: “Despite official documentation from the Government stating that the PSNT had at the least, ostensible authority and at the most actual authority to negotiate and agree on items on behalf of Government, the Government is now refusing to honour the partial agreement.
“The refusal by Government to honour this partial agreement is a clear act of negotiating in bad faith and is unlawful under section 29 (a) (4) of the Police Act, 1974.
“The reality of the situation is that the members of the BPA are now becoming exasperated, with the real possibility of becoming demoralised.”
Mr Harewood said the association called on David Burt, the Premier, to “take control of this situation and ensure that the Government honour its obligations”.
He added: “We are eager to continue to negotiate in good faith.”
Mr Harewood called on the Government to “reveal their true motive for not wanting to sign the partial agreement”.