By Shanea Johnson
I vividly recall my primary school teacher chanting the jingle “basic needs, basic needs, what are the basic needs?” and we as kids would respond “food, clothes and shelter…” in a cheerful and meaningful way. We understood what it meant and we understood that not having these commodities would pose a problem.
As a child, it was a struggle whenever there was a water shortage in our community in rural Clarendon. It was quite uncomfortable. Now, imagine being without water for THREE months. Be reminded that you need water to drink, cook, clean, shower, wash and the list goes on. How would you manage? For many this would be a burden to carry daily and it would be nothing but added stress especially during this pandemic.
Well, I believe the officers at the headquarters of the Kingston Central Police Division are struggling a little harder to cope due to a lack of water in the corporate area. According to the Daily Observer, the headquarters has been without water for the past three months, which forces the police officers to take baths in pans. The female officers also expressed gratitude to their male colleagues who offered assistance in taking these pans with water to the bathrooms of the barracks so they could have their baths each day before going on duty.
I can only imagine the discomfort of these police officers. One’s working space should not be uncomfortable or tense. This especially should not be the case for a police station, given the different issues they face on a daily basis. I believe that a comfortable working environment will increase anyone’s productivity and in turn yield good results when compared to an uncomfortable one, which can leave an individual miserable, frustrated and unproductive. I agree with the Chairman of the Police Federation, Detective Sergeant Patrae Rowe, that an organization cannot function properly without proper running water.
This is a call for the assistance of the Ministry of National Security’s transformational project which is to Rebuild, Overhaul and Construct (R.O.C). The aim of Project R.O.C is to convert all police stations into modern, citizen-friendly workspaces and provide officers with a comfortable environment conducive to work, while creating the ambience for citizens to willingly and comfortably engage the police.
Therefore, it is fitting for the Ministry to step in and facilitate the necessary adjustments in order for the headquarters of the Kingston Central Police Division to undergo this transformation. I believe the relevant authorities were informed of the issue. However, it is a change that is long over-due as Detective Sergeant Rowe noted. He is concerned as “there has been a delay in resolving the issue”. He added that it is frustrating. To some, it may not be seen as something as important as breathing but it is absolutely essential. It is a commodity needed to facilitate basic sanitation such as hand-washing, which cannot be over-emphasized, especially when having to deal with outsiders who visit the office on a daily basis.
During his Sectoral Debate in April 2019, the Minister of National Security, the Honourable Dr. Horace Chang outlined that approximately $445 million will be allocated for renovations of police stations for the year 2019/2020. I do hope this police station was captured on that list and that swift action will be taken. I can only imagine other difficulties that the Central Headquarters of Kingston is facing. Nonetheless, let us keep our fingers crossed that this issue will be rectified as it is an urgent one.
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