3129097

Sascha Wilson

Point Fortin Municipal Police officers are concerned about their well being after more than a dozen of their colleagues have been put in quarantine with two testing positive so far.

This comes in the wake of reports that Point Fortin mayor Saleema Thomas, who is pregnant, has contracted the virus as well as an employee attached to the Engineering Department.

Thomas, in a news release on Saturday, confirmed she had tested positive for the virus.

Several members of staff, who were in contact with the mayor, has also gone into quarantine.

Concerned about the spike in cases in their workplace and by extension the country, the officers complained that they have not been put on rotation, insufficient sanitation, lack of hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies to sanitise their weapons and equipment.

The officers work from three stations, one is located within the corporation, the headquarters in Cap-de-Ville and there is another station in that area.

The quarantined officers work in the three buildings. The officers, who reached out to Guardian Media, said a departmental order was sent out stating that they are to be put on rotation, given the spike in cases, but has not been done.

“They don’t care about us. They are putting us at risk. There is a departmental order stating that officers should be on rotation and the senior officer refuse to do this. We are working as normal.”

He claimed two weeks ago when the first officer tested positive they did not sanitise the station.

He also claimed the main station was only sanitised on Tuesday night after another employee in the corporation tested positive.

“We just want them to enforce the basic protocols and safety precautions. We have families too. They wouldn’t even give us a bottle of Lysol to sanitise our firearm and we have been begging for hand sanitiser.”

Another officer complained that their seniors have threatened to stop officers’ duty, meal and housing allowances while they were in quarantine.

“This should not be tolerated even by the CEO of the Point Fortin Borough Corporation. This is a breach or natural injustice,” he said.

Southern Division Municipal Police Senior Supt Cecil Santana confirmed that about a dozen officers were in quarantine, two of whom tested positive.

He said on Monday he visited the station to address COVID-19 issues and was assured by Supt Renn that the shifts were being rotated.

Santana said there were wash stations at the entrance of the buildings and he was told that sanitation was being done on Fridays.

He said sanitisation was done last Friday and is expected to be done again tomorrow.

Addressing concerns about allowances, Santana said there was no truth to that.

He said, “I am not aware of those instructions and the issue of allowances is the responsibility of the CEO and she has not done that.”

He said the officers were still being paid while in quarantine and therefore their allowances cannot be stopped.

However, he promised to look into the concerns raised by the officers.

Guardian Media tried to reach the CEO but was told by a corporation employee that she was in quarantine and there was no one else available to answer any questions.

Attempts to contact Supt Renn were unsuccessful.