Several officers within the Royal Montserrat Police and Fire services have received letters indicating they should proceed with retirement over the next six months.
This follows last month’s announcement that RMPS Commissioner Steve Foster is due to retire at the end of March 2023.
About six officers, four from the RMPS and two from the fire service are said to have received letters from the Governor’s Office indicating the end of their service is near.
Premier Joseph Farrell last week indicated that previous administrations had sought to bring the retirement age outlined in the Police Act for police officers in line with the Pensions Act but the service had declined to have the age increased. As the police and fire services are governed by this, it supersedes the Pensions Act which would have given the officers an additional five years of service.
Concerns have been raised about the leadership vacuum which will be created by the retirement of the officers who include inspectors and heads of units.
Governor Sarah Tucker responded to our questions on the officers’ retirement by stating that “Under the local legislation – the Police Act section 50, the retirement from the service is very clear.
“Every constable and subordinate police officer may be required to retire from the Service on attaining the age of fifty years and every officer shall be required to retired from the Service on his attaining the age of fifty-five years:
“Provided that, the Governor in special cases may permit an Inspector to retire on or after attaining the age of fifty years:
“Provided further that, the Governor may re-employ a retired Inspector for a period of two years.”
Tucker continued to say “It is therefore a normal occurrence for officers to retire at 55. The retiring COP and the Deputy COP have continued to develop all of the Service to ensure there is a succession plan in place.
“After fair and open competition, a number of Sergeants will be promoted into the role of Inspector and continue to receive support and training as they transition into their new senior roles.
“Similarly, these spaces allow others to be promoted after open competition, into the role of Sergeants. Interviews are already scheduled.
“As with all of the RMPS, these newly promoted officers will continue to receive training and support from colleagues, including attending courses, via the ongoing relationship we have with Suffolk Police to continue to build our capability and capacity,” the Governor’s response stated.
The office declined to give further details on individual cases citing them as HR matters.
Acting Premier Dr. Samuel Joseph said on last night’s Viewpoint on ZJB Radio that the governor should consult with government on matters such as the retirement of police officers.
Joseph said it was time that they took control of the country back and called for the Opposition to stand together with them on issues of overreach from the Governor’s Office.
The Governor has responsibility for Human Resources of the Government of Montserrat and the RMPS and Fire Service are under her remit.
Watch the Premier’s Press Conference from Friday, February 9, 2023.