National Security Minister Edmund Dillon on Friday accused the former People’s Partnership government of hypocrisy in claiming that nothing was being done to ensure fire officers received their enhanced pension packages.
He said the legislation to give effect to the measure was passed under the PNM administration last year as the PP had done nothing to ensure the fire officers got their packages.
“In 2012, nothing happened, 2013 nothing happened, 14 nothing happened, 15 nothing happened. It was this Government who approved the measures as brought by the Minister of National Security,” an incensed Dillon stated. “It is this Government who brought it to the House and passed it on April 21, 2017 It was this government who brought it to the Senate and passed it in May 2017, not the last government who took more than three years.
“This minister ensured it was brought to the House and passed and so measures are being taken right now to deal with the issues. This government did it. This minister did it.
“Not you, hypocrisy, you had not cared that time. You did not care that time for.”
Dillon was responding to Opposition senator Wade Mark, who raised the issue in a motion on the adjournment in the Upper House.
Mark had called on Dillon to explain why the legislation had not yet been implemented after it was passed in the Parliament.
“It was applicable to officers in the First Division and officers of the Second Division but since this bill was passed, there has been no implementation of this particular measure,” Mark said.
“So that the officers in question have not received there enhanced pensions. Officers are still awaiting directives from the Ministry of Finance as well as the Ministry of National Security in order to receive their pensions on an enhanced level.”
Mark said hundreds of officers retire each year and needed their pensions.
In response, Dillon said measures to address the issue were being taken in three phases “as there are processes which must be followed.
“We are doing the research. So far, we have identified 700 officers who will fall into that category,” he said.
“Phase two is to do the audit and then the payment. That is being taken care of right now. Sure as ever, it is going to be done. There is a system and a process to be followed and that is being done.
“I can assure you and I can assure the country and I can assure the Fire Service that this Government will ensure they get what they deserve.”