Marvin Dames, Minister of National Security. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff
By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday confirmed that some Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers have been sent on leave - however he declined the specify the exact number.
In the wake of a number of senior Royal Bahamas Police Force officers receiving notice this month to take pre-retirement leave, Mr Dames underscored that these decisions are not personal or political.
Mr Dames made these remarks following a press conference outside RBPF headquarters yesterday.
When asked how many RBDF officers have been placed on leave, Mr Dames demurred from giving an exact figure.
“It’s still a work in progress,” he said. “We’re still working. But we make no apologies, we understand that we have to — this is not solely a law enforcement issue. This is something that we have to do throughout our public service.
“We have to run a more efficient public service, we have to transform it, we have to reform it…because we’re obligated to do it for the next generation. We’re all just passing through. And this is what good governance is all about. We should not be complaining when the government steps in.
“I will have nothing else to say about that other than that’s the only objective,” he continued. “This is not personal, this is not political. As I said…I met with those officers, certainly in the police force and the defence force, all of whom I know very personally and who I would consider my friends and we had these discussions.
“And so we (will) continue to work with them. And a lot of them get uncomfortable when we bring these matters out in the open and make it personal.”
When asked if any more senior police officers have been placed on leave, Mr Dames again did not provide specifics.
“We are always in a state of transition,” he said. “I am in a state of transition. You are in a state of transition. Every company is in a state of transition. People come and people go. People have to retire, people get sick, they have to maybe take on another position.”
He added throughout the public service there is an “urgent need for change”.
RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel did not respond to inquiries for comment up to press time.
On March 20, Assistant Commissioners of Police Clayton Fernander, Ashton Greenslade, Ken Strachan, Theophilus Cunningham and Leamond Deleveaux received notice to take accrued vacation leave effective immediately.
This brought the total number of senior officers placed on pre-retirement leave in recent weeks to eight, after 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.
A police insider recently 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.