Police officer and former calypso monarch Duane O’Connor has denounced the applause initiative for the public to salute essential workers during the covid19 crisis. It took place at 10 on Thursday morning. An official ceremony was held at the Police Academy in St James but people around the country joined in,
O’Connor took to Facebook to weigh in on the effort, saying he really wanted to clap but his hands were tied. “Clap, Clap, clap for what,” he asked. “I want to clap when the government and National Security Ministry, the CPO and all relevant authorities decided to end all salary negotiations with all essential workers and stop playing them for fools.”
Newsday was unable to get in touch with the Police Social and Welfare Association to find out about the state of negotiations. O'Connor also commented on government’s short-lived plan to use four private security companies to help the police with patrols while people observe a stay-at-home order.
“All of a sudden money could be found to hire and pay and work along with private security firms, but to satisfy these stressed out workers who waiting years for a negotiation to come to an end, they never could agree to satisfy.” Directing his comments “to the government,” he asked, “You know how many ppl (people) waiting for increments, overtime payments and many different allowances.
“I know we in a crisis, this covid19 ent easy. I want to clap but I can’t. My hands are tied like the government when it comes to the essential ppl who always get the sh.tty end of the stick at the end of the day.” The post drew many "likes" and "loves," as well as comments both complimentary and condemnatory. Some people said he should turn his comments into a calypso for 2021.
“Same thing with the private sector. We 'essential' but still working for 2016 salary," one person commented. A fellow calypsonian asked O’Connor if the police service was behaving like TUCO, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation. Many addressed ’Connor as “batch,” indicating they were also police officers, and hailed his comments.
“They can negotiate in 1 day with 4 different security companies (let’s not discuss the true ownership of all 4) a rate for officers and vehicles, for specific areas but can’t finalize for the said same essential people who are stsill living on 2013 salaries.
"At least bring up the essential service people salaries to 2016 nah… forget about bringing it up to date… that’ll be too much to ask for…do it to 2016,” another of his FB friend pleaded.
Others said they applauded the essential services but understood his point, including one who told him to heed the words of the classic calypso Appreciation.