Writes Legislature to halt program over wrongful retirement
At least 29 officers of the Executive Protective Service (EPS), who claim to be ”wrongfully retired,” have written members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to put a hold to their pension award ceremony.
The program is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, October 4, at the Cecil Dennis Auditorium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where each retired officer is expected to receive a severance benefit of at least US$350 or its equivalent (L$39,900) for 25 years of service.
The EPS’ Human Resources Department circulated the invite to the concerned former officers through text messages.
In a letter dated October 2 to both Houses of the Legislature, the spokesperson of the retired EPS officers said, “this case of wrongful retirement of 29 EPS employees is before you since August 23, for the House of Representatives’ intervention to bring about transparent justice.
“We are kindly requesting you and the Honorable House of Representatives to pause the pension program, because there has been no finding from our request of intervention in the case.”
Joseph Kollie, EPS Human Resource Director, communicating via mobile phone, confirmed the pension program scheduled for Wednesday, October 4, but said: “We don’t run the EPS in the press, because we are security officers assigned with the President.”
EPS Director Sam Gaye could not be reached as his phone has either been off or ‘out of coverage area’ for the past two days.
It may be recalled that since August 23, former EPS officers affixed their signatures to a protest letter against their “wrongful retirement.”
In their letter, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, the officers said although the law requires for an individual to be retired after 25 years of service, their calculated years of service included the ’14 wasted years of the civil war,’ which should not have been counted against their years of service in the force, adding, “because the National Security Act of 2011 ruled out the 25-year tenure. It recommended age 65 and ill health for retirement.”
They quoted the 2011 Act as as saying that any employee that attained 25 consecutive years of tenure has an option of a waiver. “The one-time handshake package of US$500 for an employee that served the state as security for 25 years is unreasonable and needs to be revisited. And because the legislative and presidential election is at hand (October 10), it is not timely for them to be retired,” the officers said.
They clarified that the EPS is not in the employ of the Civil Service Agency (CSA), “but our monthly compensation is calculated on CSA Tenure of Service and suspect that authorities at the EPS contravened the National Security Reform and Intelligence Act of 2011, Section 12.B (pension in an amount of 50 percent compensation of what he/she was receiving at the time of retirement for the remainder of the natural life).”
The former presidential guards have therefore appealed to the Legislature to cite the director to answer to their wrongful retirement, or whether his action is in line with the National Security Reform and Intelligence Act of 2011 (Section 3.6) – retirement and death benefits.