Today the Commissioner of Police made a few commitments to the women in the police department. These, he said, come after he received a list of recommendations made by a group of female officers as it relates to the conditions of service for WPCs. Now while the Commissioner said he can assist in some of the recommendations, he made it clear that some, though not mentioning which, the officers should not look forward to receiving. One of the changes he will be pushing for and committed to see accomplished is opening a daycare center for officers at the Raccoon Police Station in Belize City. The Compol said that he will commission a team to be headed by ACP Dezerie Magdaleno to see work completed.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “Female officers are single mothers or in some cases where they are not single mothers they are still the caregivers at home and sometimes they do find themselves in difficult situations to find babysitters to take care of the young one and so I think it is only right that we can try to look at ways and means to help them. It is going to happen because we want that when our female officers come to work they have a place that they can leave their children and don’t have to worry about whether or not the child has been taken care off properly and to have the daycare center at the Police Station is the right way to go. I had gone to Boston about two years ago and I saw it at the Boston Police Station where they have a daycare center and they take care of the children for the officers and it is very good. We have to look at mothers who are breastfeeding, that they will be able to breastfeed their child even when they are at work so if the child is upstairs at the daycare center and the mother downstairs she can go up to breastfeed the child and get back to work. Those are things we can look at to be able to make the work environment better for our female officers.”
Dalila Ical: “You can fall under the criticism by your male officers that the Department is going a bit too far for other officers compared to the needs of men. Some men still don’t have a Barracks to stay and this could be some tensions rising here, what would you respond to that?”
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “I don’t see it as being criticism because at the end of the day males do not breastfeed, males do not give birth. Those are things that are unique to women and if it is that we can find ways and means to help women to deal with those issues then as it relates to a comparator a male would not fall within that category so it would not fall within the scope of discrimination. For the most part some of the same children that these Police officers have are for male Police officers because sometimes we have officers who live together so the male officer will be benefiting as well because their child will be well taken care of at the day care center as well.”
The Compol said that the daycare center will be accommodated where the canteen was once and will have all necessary amenities to accommodate the proper care of the children.