PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday April 15, 2016 – Amid concern that the Dr. Keith Rowley administration might not honour the TT$1 million (US$151,897) compensation promises made to families of officers killed in the line of duty, the twin-island republic’s National Security Minister is assuring that the money will be forthcoming – and not only for the relatives of policemen.
Retired Major General Edmund Dillon made it clear in a statement yesterday that the relatives of members of any branch of the protective services – Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF), Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service or Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service (TTFS) – will benefit.
Last month, Dillon said the previous People’s Partnership administration which announced the plan had not put the required measures in place to make the payouts possible, and he indicated that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act had to be amended to follow through with the promise.
Then yesterday, there was some confusion over who would actually benefit, as Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus and Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie indicated at a post-Cabinet media briefing that the money was only for the families of police officers killed on the job.
Dillon’s statement later in the day sought to clarify that there would be no distinction between members of the security forces as far as compensation is concerned.
“It must be noted that this government recognizes the sacrifices that these men and women make on a daily basis to defend and protect the citizens of our country,” he said.
“The Minister of National Security is committed to putting in place the mechanism to get the Cabinet approval to effect the payment to family members of officers killed in duty.”
To date, there has been no disbursement of the promised payment.