Princes Town MP Barry Padarath in a press release indicated that two weeks ago in the Parliament, he asked the Minister of National Security during urgent question time, how many police officers were in the Child Protection Unit. Since then, even though the Minister agreed to provide the answer during the sitting, no such answer has come forward.
Padarath has slammed the Minister of National Security for his flippant approach to providing information on an essential unit like the CPU, especially in light of so many reported cases of child abuse over the past few months.
Padarath recalled that during the Miscellaneous Provision Bill (the child marriage bill), the Attorney General indicated that over 160 officers operate or will operate in the unit. Padarath stated that he has been reliably advised that the Child Protection Unit was severely understaffed and over worked and was nowhere close to having a complement of over 160 officers.
The MP has called on the Minister to come clean with the actual amount of officers currently in the unit and what measures are being put in place to strengthen the complement in the future.
Padarath stated that it was frightening that the Minister of National Security appeared not to be on top of the administration of essential units in the protective services. He questioned what was the role of three political appointees in the Ministry of National Security, when critical information that informs the operations of the Children’s Authority is not known.
He questioned whether the Minister was waiting for the government commissioned man power audit into the Police service to tell him that the officers assigned to the CPU was woefully insufficient. He indicated that it appeared that while the country was burning, there was no contingency or alternative plans to address the shortage of officers in critical units while the audit was being done. Padarath stated that he will be utilizing the avenue of a Freedom of Information Application to acquire the information which the Minister has failed to supply.