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Five Top Officers Join Force Exodus

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday pledged “there will be more to come” after five high-ranking Royal Bahamas Police Force officers were retired.

Assistant Commissioners of Police Clayton Fernander, Ashton Greenslade, Ken Strachan, Theophilus Cunningham and Leamond Deleveaux have received notice to take accrued vacation leave effective immediately – bringing the total number of senior officers placed on pre-retirement leave in recent weeks to eight.

A police insider told The Tribune that Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson and Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel are also among those persons slated for pre-retirement leave in the near future.

Mr Dames did not confirm future departures as he fielded questions from the media yesterday; however, he stressed there was nothing “sinister” about the ongoing “transformation” of law enforcement agencies.

He stressed successive governments have allowed accrued vacation - which should be capped at 15 weeks - to “run amok”.

However, the Progressive Liberal Party has asserted a “political purge” was taking place in the police force, charging that it was an attempt to eliminate PLP supporters from the public service. PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell slammed the move as “evil      and wicked” actions that the party condemns. 

Separate meetings with executive teams from the police and defence force were held on Wednesday, according to Mr Dames, who said discussions focused on the significant financial strain excessive accrued vacation poses for the government.

The ACPs received their letters yesterday, ordering them to take their vacation leave.

In response to reports the letters came as a shock to senior officers, Mr Dames noted the meetings were cordial, adding that everyone left on “good accord”.

“We’re talking about individuals,” Mr Dames said, “the majority of whom are on leave, who have in excess of a year and in some cases close to two years.

“We have an agency and the morale is very strong, the morale hasn’t been stronger. 

“Everyone is entitled to leave,” he continued, “we need to bring our departments, not only the police and defence force, to a place where we manage it, where people are allowed to go on leave and spend time with their families.

“But we are at a point right now throughout the service, we have this significant accumulation of leave and it puts the government in a very difficult place when it comes to retirement...when you look at that collectively across the service, it’s a significant amount of monies.”

Mr Dames spoke on the sidelines of the launch of the public awareness component of the Citizen Security & Justice Programme.

“What we’re talking about is bringing a service in line with standards and policies,” Mr Dames said, “and this is something that is new but we have to do it. We have to run an efficient government, part of running an efficient government is ensuring that your policies are adhered to and all the departments are adhering to those policies.”

He continued: “That you are managing your departments efficiently to ensure people are able to take the leave and not accumulate it at the end of the day to cost the taxpayers a significant amount of money.”

Earlier this month it was revealed that Deputy Commissioner Emrick Seymour, Senior Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dean and Assistant Commissioner Clarence Reckley were all asked to take accrued vacation ahead of their respective retirements from the force. 

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 5 months ago

He {Dames} stressed successive governments have allowed accrued vacation - which should be capped at 15 weeks - to “run amok”.

Absolute hog wash! A 'take-it-or-lose-it' policy was put in place years ago when it was realized senior police officers were abusing accrued vacation. Back then all accrued vacation was paid up to date to allow for the implementation of the new take-it-or-lose-it policy. Thereafter, unless approved in advance at the time by the minister responsible, and only under the most extenuating of circumstances, no senior police official was entitled to pay for vacation not taken within the year it was earned.

Therefore, what's really happening here is that Dames is squandering our tax dollars to make unnecessary huge lump-sum 'giveaway' payments to senior police officers that he and Papa Doc Minnis have decided to give the proverbial boot. This gets the undesirable senior officers to leave voluntarily and quietly so that they can then be replaced by promoting other officers considered to be much more loyal to the FNM. This is outrageous to say the least!

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licks2 5 months ago

You are simply ignorant of what you speak. . . you have no inkling of information as far as it comes to public services policies for vacation, retirement leaves, age of retirements and and accumulation of leave time or contingencies that allow excessive accumulation of leave time!!

Anyone on this site who has worked in public service and or retired from the same will just tell you: "shut the heck up cos yoon know what ya talkin bout". . .heck the people right here at the tribune can tell you you talking a load of dumb stuff!!

Now if you want to accuse the MONS of giving away money. . .just come out and say so. . .we would expect nonsense out of you like that. . .that's nothing new!! But the bunch of poppycock you brought out here is just no true. . .or even remotely correct!!

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John 5 months ago

When BEC, BaTelCo, WSC and even some private companies took this kind of action, they found themselves having to go back to the same pool and rehire the people they let go. Apparently Meltdown Marvin feels he has enough talent and experience within the ranks to boot almost his entire top brass and either leave some positions vacant or promote junior officers. A bet the country cannot afford to lose, considering the crime situation. And the claim that this will not affect morale on the force is rubbish, especially since some dismissed officers claim they only learned of their fate in the media. With BTC, the problem is many who didn’t take the package are now leaving because they feel jobs are insecure. At least three CEO’s in five years. To unceremoniously kick long serving officers out to graze must have some impact on other officers. Some are wondering whose running the ship, while others may have hands itching to get on the wheel. And the public is also wondering what type police force their country will end up with.

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sheeprunner12 5 months ago

When will spineless Brensil Rolle do the same in the public sector????? ......... 35 years service OR 60 years of age should be the MAXIMUM amount of time anyone is allowed to work in the public service.

Most public service workers who serve beyond 30 years are generally marking time and collecting salary and perks........ OR have not planned for their retirement.

Brensil Rolle and the Cabinet has to abolish those old British colonial General Orders and other antiquated Pindling-dated PSC laws and regulations and clean out the deadbeat employees of the Government. Most Ministries spend between 70-85% of their Budget on salaries and emoluments (perks). This is a financial and productivity drain on the country.

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licks2 5 months ago

I have a feeling that you worked in public services and do know that information that those two "ignorant pundits" above are muddling through and have no idea what they are running on about!! The FNM government placed that time frame back to 30 of services or aged 65. . .by policy. . .but it was at 35 years services or 60 years old. I cannot remember the year it was returned to that time policy. . .but I can remember HAI was the PM who did so!!

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Chucky 5 months ago

What difference does it make if you take a paid vacation now or bank it.

Who cares, it's the same math.

It's "paid" vacation

The government lives by kicking the can down the road, ie borrowing.

Arguably better for government if the bank vacation.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 months ago

It makes a big difference because these senior officers were in many instances, and for many years, simply lounging around doing nothing when they should have been on vacation. And then there are some of them who did take their vacation each year but it was not recorded as time off on vacation. Believe me, with way too many senior officers over many years, the amounts involved here are not chicken feed for Bahamian taxpayers!

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licks2 5 months ago

Look out people. . .IGNORANT MAN WALKING THROUGH. . .as usual he don't know of what he speaks!! Hehehehehehehehehehehe. . .you simple don't have no idea how the public services works. . .PERIOD. . .or you would not be saying such silly things. Again. . .any public servant will tell: "homes yoon know what ya sayin". . . that kind of leave you talking about can never happen in public services like that!! Each leave time is recorded on a leave form where the category of leave is clearly marked. . .all government departments do that. . .

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Chucky 5 months ago

Makes no difference if they bank vacation.

If the person due "x " weeks of vacation pay, whether it paid out this year or in 20 years it's still the same. In fact money is always depreciating, ie 1000.00 buys more today than it will in 20 years, so really it's cheaper to pay them later.

What foolishness you speak of is time theif, or corruption etc, and that is a completely different subject. By you logic if they take their holidays every year do you expect the time thiefin will stop? Fool if you do.

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jackbnimble 5 months ago

Actually not true. In year one I may be making $100/week. By year 20 I may be making $500/week. If I allow it to accrue and take it all in year 20, then I'm getting 40 weeks at $500 per week versus the lesser sum I would have received in year 1. The officers are smarter than the government. Their take-home pay is greater for having waited. I can see Mr. Dames' point. It has to stop.

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jujutreeclub 5 months ago

@ CHUCKY. Yes it's paid vacation but spread out over 1 to 2 years as opposed to the 1 to 2 years vacation paid in a lump sum in addition to their gratuity etc. It's easier on our finances to spread it over a longer time. Could you imagine having to pay each of them $60,000 or whatever their annual salaries are, that would be $300,000.00, plus their gratuity of whatever amount on their retirement. If they remain and work up until their official retirement date, then they would have been paid for those years that they should have been on vacation and still carry their vacation over to be paid on retirement. This makes a lot of sense to me from a financial background. Just to break it down -- (Scenario 1) Leave now and take vacation for one year -- $60,000.00 X 5 = $300,000.00, then retire with no owed vacation pay. (Scenario 2) Continue to work and don't take vacation --- $60,000.00 X 5 = $300,000.00 (salary for 1 year) + $60,000.00 X 5 (Vacation pay for 1 year) = $300,000.00 for a total of $600,000.00.

Scenario 1 -- $300,000.00
Scenario 2--- $600,000.00
If you are a business owner, which package would you go with?

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Chucky 5 months ago

Seems to me that there is an amount that's paid out for vacation annually.

If the worker doesnt take the vacation, the government doesn't pay out the money.

So in the end the government still supposed to have that money.

So no difference. In your business scenario, which would I choose, well any business person with savy would gladly hang onto that money and use it over the years,

In addition, paying out a 1000 today is a lot more money than paying out 1000 in 20 years.

So your argument based not on fact, but your misguided feelings.

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licks2 5 months ago

Government cannot continue to keep the public services like it is now. . .so before they do a mass send home. . .they are weeding out the dead weight. . .there are just too many of them on the public dole when they should have been gone years ago. . .they prevent new ideas from entering the system as well!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 months ago

Papa Doc Minnis doesn't want to change the public services system.....he just wants his own senior police officers loyal to him and the FNM to pocket whatever gravy they can from the very same corrupt system, all at the taxpayers expense.

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John 5 months ago

So who will become commissioner? Anthony Ferguson is also over sixty and has served his fourty years?

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realfreethinker 5 months ago

He is also on the list to get pre-retirement leave

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DEDDIE 5 months ago

When I left the public service voluntarily I left with about a years vacation. The plan usually is to work until you are sixty five and then leave with a couple of years vacation. The result is that you would have extended your retirement by a couple of years beyond the mandatory retirement age. For the last several years the government has been cracking down on that.

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John 5 months ago

And as life expectancy increases, countries are seeking to raise the retirement age for both males and females, or, at least, relax the enforcement of it. In some countries the life expectancy is 90, so some persons will be collecting pensions for almost thirty years. And in some cases the number of retirees will, at some point , equal the number in the work force, causing a serious drain on retirement funds.

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Chucky 5 months ago

Life expectancy has been declining the last 8 years in all western nations.

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John 5 months ago

Not so, the life expectancy is still around 80 years in this part of the world...81.9 being the highest in any country

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tetelestai 5 months ago

Agreed, John. Amazing the specious garbage people post on this comment section.

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tetelestai 5 months ago

This nonsense is just not true. My source is www.nhs.uk, which annually produces statistics on this. What is your source? Please stop posting untruths, particularly without a source. Geez.

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John 5 months ago

Your personal attack does not make you credible or believable. My source tells me the life expectancy is still around 80 and vary slightly depending onwhere you live. You say it has been declining for the past eight years. So what if it has. It is still around 80. So the decline, if there was one, must have been infantisimal. Maybe if you stop posting under different names then you would be less confused and have less need to be hostile and coming across like an idiot.

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mckenziecpa 5 months ago

I have much respect for the FNM government and Mr. Dames is indeed a genius

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TigerB 5 months ago

The vacation pile up is something that goes with the amount of money you make. I think Those A.C.P.s got 6 weeks a year plus 10 casual leave. They never touch their vacation and just use the casual leave. The police Act govern's much of the decision making, not the Public Service Act. So you would find that the police in most cases operate under Police Act. But As I stated previously, in the police force after 30 years you are serving at the pleasure of the Government. They don't owe you 40 years or age 60... pay all ya bill between day one and 30 years, after that you are on borrowed time.

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DDK 5 months ago

"10 casual leave". Days or weeks? Hopefully not weeks!

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sheeprunner12 5 months ago

Those senior officers sell their souls (and bodies) to the politicians ..... SMH

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birdiestrachan 5 months ago

You go No Games Dames send them all home and you be the last man standing.,

They say you can do as much as you like , but not as long as you like. Time is moving quickly so hurry up. Because this is your first and last time in the house of assembly.

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TheMadHatter 5 months ago

Hopefully the next 5 will join force Leviticus or Deuteronomy.

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