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Top Officer Defies ‘Switch Job’ Order

ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police Kendal Strachan (left) and his lawyer Wayne Munroe.

ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police Kendal Strachan (left) and his lawyer Wayne Munroe.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police Kendal Strachan, acting on advice from his lawyer Wayne Munroe, is defying an order to report to the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development for a new role as chief of security at the Willie Mae Pratt and Simpson Penn schools for girls and boys. His new appointment was to take effect on December 9 when he returned from a lengthy, forced vacation leave. This newspaper reported last week that he intends to fight the transfer.

Mr Munroe, QC, said yesterday the officer will continue to report as normal to his office at police headquarters on East Street. In a letter dated December 12, Mr Munroe responded on behalf of ACP Strachan, pictured, to a letter from Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson dated December 9.

“We note the following with regard to the letter,” Mr Munroe wrote. “The first paragraph of the letter refers to ‘collaborative decision’ having been made to appoint our client to a post of chief of security. In the second paragraph it is indicated that the appointment is ancillary to our client’s present position. In the third paragraph (it is noted) that our client is to play an integral part of the executive team ‘under the protocol of the permanent secretary’.

In the fourth paragraph our client is directed to report to a civilian in the person of the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.”

Mr Munroe said after reviewing the Police Force Act, the Constitution, the Public Service Commission Regulations and the Police Service Commission Regulations, his team believes it is “very likely that the commissioner’s directive in the letter may not constitute a lawful order.”

“In order to properly evaluate your directive, and advise our client and in particular whether our client ought to request that you submit the matter of your directive to the Police Service Commission, we would request that you provide clarification of ambiguities and concerns on the four issues highlighted above,” he wrote. “The letter can be read as purporting to transfer our client contrary to the constitution. Our client does not consent to being transferred or seconded outside of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.”

Mr Munroe asked Commissioner Ferguson to indicate which parties were involved in the “collaborative decision” to transfer ACP Strachan.

He asked whether the chief of security post is newly created and whether a “vacancy was advertised pursuant to the relevant rules of the public service”.

He wrote: “How is it envisaged that a substantive post can be ancillary to our client’s continuing to serve in the post of assistant commissioner of police? As you are no doubt aware no steps have been taken to initiate any process to remove our client from his post of assistant commissioner of police.

“What is exactly meant by our client being subject to the protocol of the permanent secretary? Is this meant to mean that our client is to be subject to disciplinary control of a body other than Police Service Commission? Please explain how it is that our client can report to any civilian given his position as a member of a disciplined force?”

He continued: “We would request that you provide the requested information on an urgent basis to prevent the need for us to move the court to construe the contents of the letter and to provide any necessary remedy.”

Commissioner Ferguson, when contacted yesterday, said he doesn’t believe this matter is one “a commissioner should be commenting on.” Told his signature appears on ACP Strachan’s transfer letter, he said National Security Minister Marvin Dames addressed the issue last week. Mr Dames told the press ACP Strachan’s transfer cannot be viewed as a demotion; he was not asked to comment on ACP Strachan’s decision to report to police headquarters or Mr Munroe’s legal position.

ACP Strachan was directed to take vacation leave in March along with seven other officers. Four of those officers will await news on their appointments when their leave ends.

The Minnis administration has said its forced vacation leave plan reflects a desire to prevent officers from accumulating so much vacation leave that they have to be paid substantial sums of money when they retire. The application of the policy has been controversial this year, however, with officers on leave questioning why they were not summoned to return to duty after Hurricane Dorian and why officers with more accumulated vacation weeks or fewer years until retirement were not directed to take vacation instead or along with them.

Comments

The_Oracle 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Going against the tribalistic cabal of the day, or finding yourself the target of them is career ending stuff, with no place in our society, and yet people find themselves victimized far too often.

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TheMadHatter 3 months, 2 weeks ago

What happens when he shows up at his office will be revealing.

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sirD 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Fire him for abandoning his post

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sealice 3 months, 2 weeks ago

the PLP is encouraging Police Officers to disobey direct orders? Glad we don't have a standing army then we'd undoubtly be in the top 10 of 3rd world hell holes......

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geostorm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Personally, I would not want to stay somewhere I was not wanted, but I do understand ASP Strachan's position. After dedicating a good portion of his life to the police force, to push him out this way, can feel demeaning.

We must realize though, that when you get to the level of director, Commodore, PS, ASP, etc, you are in somewhat of a political position. Politics play a big role in whether you stay or go. That's the way it works, even in countries like the United States.

ASP Strachan could also look at it from a another view, his pay, benefits, etc. are not being affected, so he could go to the Boys and Girls School and make a positive change. Since it's a first for such a position, he could make it exactly what he wanted it to be. If he could bring about a change in the attitudes of those troubled girls and boys then he would have made an even greater contribution that he could have ever made as an ASP.

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BONEFISH 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr.Strachan's rank on the police force is that of ACP and not ASP.He is an assistant commissioner of police and not an assistant superintendent. You don't know much do you? The Bahamas runs on the Westminister system of government.Top civil servants are not replaced when the government changes. As for the american system, a presidents appoints and the senate confirms political appointees to top civil service positions.That system is above most bahamians' heads.That is why a bahamian like you or me won't know what to do when like John Kennedy a democrat,could appoint a republican to his cabinet.

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thephoenix562 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Retired in the public interest thats the way its done.I give this advice free.Wayne Munroe will BS him for a fee.

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr: Strachan signed up to be a Police Officer and not a security guard. remember what No Games did when he was given a position as a police at the Airport. it was a important position.

No Games probably was never a good police. Pompous with a degree, ??

it seems he has something against certain officers,

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Bobsyeruncle 3 months, 2 weeks ago

What length of time are we talking about when it comes to accumulating vacation leave? I thought in most careers you had to use it or lose it when it came to annual vacation (or maybe carry over a small percentage of your previous years allowance).

So do these police officers not have time to take any vacation time in 30 years ? I bet they never miss their lunch time or clocking off time. What about spending quality and fun time with their family ? Or, do they just not take vacation because they know they will get a large payout on retirement ? If so, I doubt that was the original intent of the agreement, and someone has found a loophole to abuse the system. My guess is there was a union involved somewhere, and the original intent was to compensate officers if they were unable to take vacation days because of the demands of the job. And as usual, the beneficiaries have gotten greedy and now want to rape the government coffers (taxpayers).

Something just don't smell right with this agreement.

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sealice 3 months, 2 weeks ago

so this MOFO big and bold and loud I don't care about the troubled female youth of the Bahamas with the PLP big and bold behind him with the support..... remember this ladies when you take the $100 bill out of your tshirts next election.....

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