Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

The most credible news source in Barbados

Regional organisation calls for sexual harassment policy

August 1, 2023

CMC – The Bahamas-based Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) says it is appalled by the lack of action when sexual harassment is reported by police officers across the region.

In a statement, the CFPWA, which groups police organisations in 12 Caribbean countries, said it has taken keen note of the situation in St. Lucia as it relates to the claims made by a police officer there of sexual harassment by a senior member of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force.

The women’s arm of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) in St. Lucia has warned of protests over the failure of a high-ranking police officer to step aside or be removed from his position to allow a probe into sexual harassment allegations.

“We will protest, we will take all necessary measures to ensure that our top cop is a man of integrity, a man in whom we can repose faith and confidence. We are of one mind in this,” said attorney Jeannine Giraudy-McIntyre.

The former Senate president vowed that females would not sit back and allow ‘this travesty against women”, saying “we refuse to accept this in 2023.”

“We will rise up from every walk of life and make our voices heard. We will stand united on an issue that affects every woman in our society – mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters. We stand with those brave female officers – our sisters who are immensely fearful of the repercussions of speaking out,” Giraudy-McIntyre said.

In its message, the CFWPA said that to the best of its knowledge, only law enforcement agencies in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and the Turks and Caicos Islands have sexual harassment policies.

“This is unacceptable in 2023. Every police organisation should have a sexual harassment policy. We are cognizant of the fact that not only females are being harassed but, in several instances, males as well.”

“It is disappointing that despite the concerns and reports made by the Royal St. Lucia Police Welfare Association, the senior member has not been placed on administrative leave to facilitate an investigation, and the member continues to be elevated through the ranks of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force.”

“This cannot be the way; it is incumbent on the Police Services Commission to cause an investigation to be done,” it said, adding that it stands in solidarity with the Royal St. Lucia Police Welfare Association “to bring this matter to the fore and have the officer involved removed from the office until an investigation has cleared that person of the allegations”.

It recalled that Police Welfare Associations and Federations around the region met under the theme “Building and Sustaining Police Officers’ Welfare in the Caribbean for Better Societies Across the Region” in May this year in St. Lucia and the matter of sexual harassment was the main agenda item.

“The CFPWA wants to encourage police officers to report acts of sexual harassment against them and use technology to capture the evidence. We are aware that there are instances where persons have been intimidated and/or threatened with promotion or being victimised,” said CFPWA president, Sean McCall.

“Your CFPWA will be using the mediums available to us to edify our members about sexual harassment, and we want our officers to join in for these online sessions,” McCall added.

About The Author

Share this!