Former Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade.
By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday denied assertions that Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade is being forced into early retirement, saying “no gun is being held” to anyone’s head pushing them to leave the police force.
In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Dames denied reports that he or the Free National Movement administration has a political agenda against the police chief.
He said Commissioner Greenslade is still the head of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and despite the “malicious rumours,” there is “no tension” between the two men.
Mr Dames said Commissioner Greenslade has been absent from RBPF events because he chose to use vacation days that were owed to him and “no one put a gun to his head, forcing him to do that.”
However, Mr Dames refused to comment on speculation that Commissioner Greenslade has been offered the post of high commissioner to London and will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ferguson, who is currently acting commissioner of police. He said when the time is right, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis will make an announcement on the “future of the police force.”
“At the appropriate time, the prime minister will make his comment, but no gun is being held to anyone’s head to say they must leave. Mr Greenslade is still the commissioner,” Mr Greenslade said.
“The commissioner is still the commissioner. He is currently on leave, he has a large amount of leave. Listen, the force functions this way and has been functioning this way for a very long time. The commissioner takes leave and there are provisions for an acting commissioner so that the force doesn’t miss a beat. The force is bigger than any one individual. He is not being forced out, the commissioner cannot be forced out. He is entitled to his leave, he took his leave and so an acting commissioner assumes that position because the force is not built on one person.
“It is built on thousands of individuals at various ranks and so if one takes leave there are provisions for someone else to assume that position.”
Mr Dames said he is not in the business of making the RBPF political and said his only job is to ensure that he does what was promised prior to the election.
“The RBPF continues to operate and continues to remain focused. We continue to build and have not missed a beat because the commissioner is on leave. He did not have to go, that was the choice he made,” Mr Dames said on the sidelines of an event at the prison.
“He is still the substantive commissioner of police and we have to be careful not to make it about an individual. The organisation is bigger than any one individual. There is no tension between us to my knowledge. Why would there be? I am the minister of national security and I know my role. I am very cognisant of my role and I will not play politics with the RBPF. I am the servant of the people and right now the people are concerned about the high levels of crime in the country and I have a mandate to ensure that the government’s policy is carried out. That is my responsibility, to ensure that the people of the Bahamas are satisfied that we are doing what we promised prior to the election that is my only responsibility.”
Earlier this week, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, also former leader of the FNM, said it is well known the government would like the commissioner to step aside.
“It is well known that the government will like the commissioner of police to discontinue being commissioner, and it is well known that the commissioner of police has agreed to step down as commissioner,” Mr Ingraham told The Nassau Guardian’s National Review.
According to the newspaper, Mr Ingraham also said uncertainty over Commissioner Greenslade’s future is affecting police morale.
Commissioner Greenslade was appointed the sixth commissioner of police on January 4, 2010 after serving as the acting deputy commissioner of police from January 1, 2009 upon completion of a one year secondment with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada.
Mr Dames also took part in this training in Canada when he was a member of the RBPF.
In January 2009, Mr Dames, then senior assistant commissioner of police, was appointed commander for Grand Bahama. Mr Dames was later promoted to deputy commissioner while Commissioner Greenslade ascended to the RBPF’s top post.
Mr Dames quit the RBPF in May 2011 to take up a post at the Baha Mar resort.
He won the Mount Moriah seat in the House of Assembly in the May 10 general election.