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L.T.A. Traffic Officers face anxious wait

The future of over thirty Traffic Officers at the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) remains uncertain following the Cabinet's decision last month to transfer all traffic regulations enforcement powers to the Ministry of Police. 

Five of the affected traffic officers, who asked that they are not identified, said they are currently being paid by the L.T.A. until the end of this financial year next month. 

"We don't really know how to feel about the transition, because none of us saw this coming and so we are all just waiting to see where they’re going to assign us. But as long as we are able to provide for our families, we are good," said one of the officers.

But that is not the only issue affecting them, with another officer saying their relocation to the Police could be a problem, as some of them have spouses working for the Ministry of Police.

"So with Police, their new regulation they cannot work together with spouses and these spouses, they are legal spouses and not defacto," said another officer.

While others expressed concern at reports that their positions will be downgraded to "rookies" when they join the Police.

Several attempts to get comments from the Chief Executive Officer of L.T.A., Galumalemana Ta'atialeoitiiti Tutuvanu-Schwalger, were unsuccessful as of press time.

Last week the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, said issues such as the traffic officers' salaries and whether the Ministry of Police budget can accommodate them should be addressed before the officers can be transferred.

He said the supported the option of the traffic officers continuing to get paid until the end of the current financial year with the Police taking over after that. 

An L.T.A. official, who does not have authority to speak to the media, said he is optimistic there will be a "positive transition" at the end of the financial year. 

"We are trying to finish the transition within the transition year, so that no one thinks there is no more money to pay the officers. But in terms of after the financial period, we are very positive that we complete the transition within the financial year," he said.

The anxiety amongst the affected traffic officers was not lost on the official, who said it is important that all affected parties continue to be updated and consulted. 

"We need to tell them the process and the truth so that by the end of the transition, no one is left out and nobody can claim they were left out."

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