PLP leader Philip Davis. (File photo)
By LEANDRA ROLLE
OPPOSITION Leader Phillip “Brave” Davis criticised the government’s decision to appoint Assistant Commissioner of Police Kendal Strachan to chief of security at the Willie Mae Pratt School for Girls, saying the move does not send a good message to the police force.
“For the prime minister to be causing so much disruption into the police force at the level it’s happening and occurring when we are so preempt with issues and challenges relating to crime, it doesn’t send a good message in the force itself,” Mr Davis said on Monday.
“It impacts morale and it doesn’t inspire and encourage the kind of work that you expect of the police force to help arrest the challenges we are now having because everyone in the police force are more concerned now about what’s going to happen (to them).”
ACP Strachan is one of eight senior police officers who were directed to take vacation leave in March – a move noted by the Minnis administration to prevent officers from accumulating so much vacation leave that they have to be paid substantial sums of money when they retire.
Upon his return from vacation, ACP Strachan was advised that he would be transferred to the Ministry of Social Services. The new post would give ACP Strachan a new role of chief security of the Willie Mae Pratt School for Girls and Simpson Penn Centre for Boys.
However, the assistant commissioner has since rejected the role and has been seeking legal advice on his next course of action.
Speaking on the matter, Mr Davis noted that the government’s decision to transfer ACP Strachan was “politically motivated.”
“When you have a police officer becoming the minister of national security, the familiarity within that organisation and what challenges he would’ve had as a police officer within that organisation and the benefits that he would’ve had in that organisation when he becomes the minister in charge of that, it’s going to be very challenging to disassociate him from those challenges and or benefits,” he continued.
“And so those who would’ve challenged him would be in trouble and those from whom he would benefit would be happy and so you have that dichotomy where you have a minister who believes he is the commissioner and so he is now deciding what should happen to senior officers."
National Security Minister Marvin Dames has previously noted the situation to be a "tough" one.
“This is a very sensitive one and I’m very mindful of that,” he said, “because I know there are varied positions out there and I am always cognizant of the officers involved because I know them personally and their families.”
He has said ACP Strachan is exercising his rights, but the government maintains its position.