…as Opposition continues pre-election outreachAs General and Regional Elections draw closer, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has uncovered a litany of complaints among one of the most important branches of society, the Disciplined Services.The joint services in actionAccording to PPP Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali, he has been engaging with numerous men and women in uniform over the past month. What he discovered is disconcerting. Ali said that these professionals have come to him complaining bitterly about political interference and favouritism that have hampered their career advancementOther complaints, Ali said, included obsolete equipment, poor working conditions, limited support for their families, a work environment in which political directives are becoming more prevalent, poor salaries and benefits, lack of access to personal development, and limited community support and attention to welfare issues.“Securing our borders, fighting crime, keeping our homes and community safe requires a healthy mix between well trained and highly motivated manpower backed with the necessary equipment, tools and enabling environment that would foster higher level of performance leading to better results,” Ali said on Sunday.“In ensuring men and women in uniform are able to perform at the highest levels here are some of the initiatives the next PPP/C Government will pursue to enhance the welfare and wellbeing of our men and women in uniform and their families.”Among the things Ali promised another PPP Government would do for the Disciplined Services is to implement affordable housing and support in access to financing, as well as support to families and enhanced training and access to skills development.He also pledged that there would be a return to equitable career development and merit-based promotion without political interference, favouritism and bias, as well as access and support for university education.In terms of the work environment, Ali promised improved and enhanced working conditions, remuneration and benefits. He also noted that their policy directives would see to enhancing access to healthcare and support and reform to improve the effectiveness of the Force.Crucially, Ali is also adamant that the next PPP Government will reinstate the annual bonus that the Disciplined Services enjoyed before the allowance was scrapped by the current Government, with one Minister reportedly saying at a political rally that officers’ loyalty were bought by the across the board bonus.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has previously called on Government to reinstate the one-month tax-free bonus that was traditionally given to members of the Disciplined Services and for this to be further extended to all public service employees, including those working in the sugar belt.He has argued that fiscal space exists for the reintroduction of the one-month tax-free bonus previously offered to the Disciplined Services, namely the ranks of the Guyana Defense Force, Guyana Police Force, Guyana Fire Service and the Guyana Prison Service. Among the measures he has touted is Government cutting back on millions in wasteful expenditure.