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Defence Chief ‘Forced Out’ After 40 Years Swears: I’Ll Never Forgive

CAPTAIN Samuel Evans

CAPTAIN Samuel Evans

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

CAPTAIN Samuel Evans, the recently retired deputy commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, says he will never forgive the Minnis administration for the way it treated him before he was led to retire last month.

“After 40 years of unbroken service, never being seconded, never being transferred, I try to find a decent way of saying how disappointed I am in the way I was handled,” he told The Tribune on Friday. “I’ll never forget what my wife said to me in the yard when I came home, she said ‘boy they treat you like you tief something,’ so I can’t really forgive them for that. It caused me not to want to have anything to do with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. It left a sour taste in my mouth that I will probably carry to the grave.”

Captain Evans accuses the administration of disingenuously applying its vacation leave policy to him earlier this year. He said the policy is less about fiscal prudence than about sidelining some officers so the government could form its preferred leadership teams.

He joined the force as a marine in 1979. According to three sources familiar with the matter, he was the top choice of the Christie administration to succeed Roderick Bowe, who retired in 2015, as commodore of the Defence Force; however, the administration reluctantly chose Commodore Tellis Bethel instead because he had enormous backing from the US government.

His retirement was announced in a memorandum last month. It was revealed at the time that Commodore Bethel would go on leave until January 15, 2020, and that the newly-appointed deputy commander of the RBDF, Raymond King, will act as commodore in the meantime. Critics questioned why the top defence force officer in the country was sent on leave as officers face special pressure to secure the storm-ravaged Abaco in addition to their usual duties. In response, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis noted the government’s vacation leave policy, saying people should not be paid substantial sums when they retire because they accumulated many weeks of vacation.

Captain Evans said National Security Minister Marvin Dames directed him to take leave on March 23. As the months passed, he said he realised only he and one other officer were sent on leave. Echoing senior police officers who were also sent on leave earlier this year, he said the government’s application of the policy displayed no discernible logic.

“If they use age, I wasn’t the oldest person, if they use tenure in the job, I wasn’t the longest serving person there, if they use vacation, I had 362 days of vacation and there were officers who had more than that and they didn’t send them home, so whatever yardstick they use, they couldn’t find themselves to me fairly,” he said. “I came to the conclusion that this was an act to get rid of me. I further confirmed that when Hurricane Dorian struck and, contrary to years of policy, no one summoned me to return to work. If this was a normal vacation I should’ve been summoned to work as all officers are after a natural disaster. In speaking to a senior police officer in a similar position a few weeks ago, he told me he doesn’t even pass East Street (where the police headquarters is located), that’s how disgusted he is, he goes south of East Street or north of East Street.”

Captain Evans said the government’s appointment of Raymond King as deputy commander happened although “there is no provision in law to have two substantive deputy commanders at the same time”. He said he eventually met Attorney General Carl Bethel who proposed that he resign as deputy commander, maintain the rank of captain and return to the force until he reaches retirement age. He declined that proposal and requested he be paid the balance of his vacation before retiring. As deputy commander, he was also on a contract that would expire next May; officials agreed to pay him out of that contract.

He said he never signed a vacation leave form and was told by a lawyer that the government can’t force him to take vacation that it allowed him to accumulate.

“If I had the desire, the stomach, or the appetite to fight the government I would’ve challenged them and demanded that it pay me for all of my vacation,” he said, “but personally, when I reflect on the action and the way I was treated, I came to the conclusion that the minister did not want me to be a part of the organisation so I wasn’t prepared or had the desire to return back to the organisation in any condition.”

Captain Evans said the government should have just told him from the beginning that the RBDF would be heading in a different direction, one that would not involve him.

“Just be straight up with me, that would’ve been more acceptable and I could’ve understood and respected that because all senior positions are political appointments and we understand that when a new administration comes in that they might want to go in a different direction, but what was said to me and the way I was treated were disingenuous, they were dishonest with me and I would challenge anyone to say differently,” he said. “It defied logic, it’s almost as ludicrous as the prime minister’s comment the other day about why Tellis was sent on vacation.”

For his part, Mr Dames emphasised the need for proper succession planning during the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services’ annual church service yesterday.

“I don’t want them to go into these positions to make their beds up,” he said. “I’m often weary of people who want to make their beds up because they don’t ever want to leave. Leadership is about preparing those under you to take over from you and we need to get to that place. We’re all just passing through and our job is to educate, to train and to develop those officers under us so that one day they themselves wold be able to assume leadership positions. The time is gone when the position becomes the officer, it should never be that case, it should be more about the officer assumes the position to develop those under him or her so that one day they will leave the agency better than they would’ve met it.”

Comments

DWW 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Such a bang up good job in Abaco after Hurricane Dorian. The Spanish Wells boys arrived days ahead of the defence force from Nassau. Able Bodied Seamen ha. doubt they could tie a sheepshank with a diagram and video.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 2 weeks ago

According to three sources familiar with the matter, he {Captain Samuel Evans} was the top choice of the Christie administration to succeed Roderick Bowe, who retired in 2015, as commodore of the Defence Force; however, the administration reluctantly chose Commodore Tellis Bethel instead because he had enormous backing from the US government.

This one sentence quoted immediately above is a very telling one. The U.S. government has collected intelligence information over the years on many of our defense force officers who have either engaged in activities they should not have engaged in or have been at the scene of questionable activities, including crimes, but did not come forward with information that they should have known. We've all heard stories about the subsequent disappearance of contaband turned over to the RBDF by U.S. DEA officials, among other alarming things.

In exchange for the U.S. government's assistance to (and close coordination with) the RBDF in fighting the smuggling of contaband and human trafficking through Bahamian waters, our government quite naturally allows the U.S. government the input they wish to have in more critical senior level appointments at the RBDF.

No matter how poorly Captain Evans may have been treated upon his forced retirement, it's ashame he elected to run to the press on a note of sour grapes rather than hold his head high after a 40-year career. But that's his prerogative.

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geostorm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow@ well-mudda, I am so impressed with your commentary today. You mean you didn't have anything bad to say about your "favorite"- Minnis led government......LOL

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

If a man deserves a gold watch, then give it to him. There are many assets including large chunks of cash and even assault rifles that went missing from the various US government agencies ( Assault rifles started showing on the streets of The Bahamas and Caribbean countries after hundreds of such weapons went missing during the US’s operation, ‘Fast and Furious.’ Those weapons were never accounted for nor was anyone held responsible. So if you Police and punish one, then you should also police and punish your own.

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jamaicaproud 3 months, 2 weeks ago

When you support illegal unconstitutional court busting methods against the weak. The same methods will be used against you. Its that simple.

Illegals must go, i agree, but the process must be followed. Violate teh process, the same heavy-handedness will be used against you bro.

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Emac 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Oh wow! Jamaica Proud...Lemme say that I'm proud of your objectiveness. Seems like you've gotton over what ever ill you had over our troubled country! Praise Jah!

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr: Evans is a courageous man. It takes courage to speak up. The response to Dorian would have been better if doc and Dames were not so busy sending competent men home.

Dames has set himself as King of something.

Mr. Evans forgive them. God the Just Judge says vengeance is mine I will repay thee. God is reall, really good at it leave it all with him.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Regardless which colour political t-shirts we colony of out islands children's are born into and-grow up to later work for and under - there has be real career ending time frame that cannot be expected stretch out into 40 or more unbroken years - all whilst remaining as beneficiary PopulacesPurse, yes, no ... . Every beginning has an end and no comrade's government job should come the expectation of enjoying an all new beginning after 40 plus years stream unbroken paycheques - even life itself will one day come to its final end. ...Amen!

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thephoenix562 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Why you crying bro?So couple a months would have made a difference?Your time is up deal with it.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wasn't it widely reported in media that there was another Defense Force comrade who was on leave so long that he ended up feeling so forgotten that he went work in security out at Cable Beach, yes, no .... You just can't make this up ....time redefine not only how vacation time a government worker may accumulate over years but the logic behind entire pension system guaranteed to all government workers ..... politicians and political appoints move to top review and discontinue paying list. Accumulated vacation and sick time has be something worthy the Queen, look-into - considering in private sector - its called a use it or lose ....

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The Bahamas at this time need all hands on deck. What is important is how things are done. All human beings deserve respect.

NO GAMES should be sure not to make up his bed. He who sows the wind will reap the whirl wind.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

We know Marvin Dames is compromised or damaged goods. So he must bow to the masters who are allowing him to walk on eggshells. So after Dames have beheaded all his comrades or fellow officers, or made them to walk the plank, the masa’s will say ‘ no draw forth your sword and fall upon it, you idiot. What made you think you were more worthy or that your fate would be any different?’

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mckenziecpa 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree with the other poster why cry bro you made a lot of salary and in the end you still won

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geostorm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I commend Mr. Evans for 40 years of service to our country, that is not an easy feat. With that said, we must be prepared to move on, especially when we hold positions that are are of political significance or have put in the required amount of time on the job. We should follow the guidelines set out by General Orders. If it's time for someone to leave or retire, then move on and allow a younger person to take over. I was happy to read that Mr. Evans felt the same way.

I don’t want them to go into these positions to make their beds up,” he said. “I’m often weary of people who want to make their beds up because they don’t ever want to leave. Leadership is about preparing those under you to take over from you and we need to get to that place

It should also be expected that anyone at the level of Director, Permanent Secretary, Commissioner, Commodore etc, should know that once a government is changed, there is potential for them to be removed, even if they are the best in the position. The government has the right to place whomever they want in those positions of influence. It's done by governments around the world and there is no ill- will about it.

I think we have allowed the civil service to be politicized for too long. It should not be so. Not only do we drain the Public Treasury by doing so, but we kill the morale of many hard working dedicated, employees when we move them out to put others in.

Generally speaking, I agree with what the government is doing. My reasons for the approval are strictly from a position of being wise and fiscally prudent and also for producing a younger, and stronger work force who can move and navigate the changing times.

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boopboop 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I dont think the statement in bold was Mr Evans' i think that may be Mr Dames'

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"don’t want them to go into these positions to make their beds up,” he said. “I’m often weary of people who want to make their beds up because they don’t ever want to leave. Leadership is about preparing those under you to take over from you and we need to get to that place"

What do they tell these men when they ask them to give up vacation, sleep, family life etc, because it's all hands on deck? There's a crime wave, there's a hurricane, there's an immigration problem. You signed up do your duty until you're "older" then we'll kick you our unceremoniously. This doesnt seem like the right way to go, or to build loyalty, especially at a time when there's an issue with recruitment of good men

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Emac 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I hear ya ThisisOurs. But time has no respect of man. When the clock on the wall says it's time to go, it time to go!

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boopboop 3 months, 2 weeks ago

When you are hired with government you have a good idea for when you're retirement date should be.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

True! But you expect a thank you, not a kick in the butt because you committed the crime of wracking too much vacation??

These men put their lives on the line, daily, they're called to do the extraordinary when most of us are taking shelter and this is how they're treated? It's not right. Now if there is some other justifiable reason why certain persons are being unceremoniously dismissed then say that, but don't go about selectively applying the handbook to persons who may have no other crime than not being FNM.

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boopboop 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I've read this article a few times throughout the course of the day to make sure that I take it for what it is. Quite Frankly I don't see anything wrong. Here's why.

  1. Very few no matter how good or educated they are will ever make it to see Captain on the Defense Force.

  2. When you hit 30 years in Government you on borrowed time every year after.

  3. You hit 40 years nobody should have to "ask" a staff to leave. The day I make 40 years i would've put in for my vacation to make it 41 years and ease on into the sunset.

  4. Any government employee should be preparing for life after the government job well in advance.

4 Folks really have to learn to know when to leave. What else is there to prove past 40 years? You have done extremely well!! Don't let a couple of persons who have an issue with things suck you into souring up your honorable retirement. You bigger than that.

5 Seriously though if an agency has to retain a person who has done 40 years on a job then shame on that agency because that would mean that there's no succession planning, there was no training going on. I'm certain there are many others qualified that can ascend in the Defence Force...has to be!!! With the experience he has under his belt he can use that in the private sector to make almost twice as much as hes making.

Ya have to know when to leap off the Lilly pad and let another frog leap

All government agencies should be made to report to the government 5 to ten persons whom are (1) qualified (2)being groomed to ascend the ladder and (3) what is being done to groom them so that they can meet the requirements. Best man wins after that. Pass the baton on leave at the top of your game. Not when you could barley see to steer the boat.

Lastly never conclude that you will never forgive. Everyday you depend on gods forgiveness which is given based on you forgiving others. Especially now that you're retired and mature you don't have time to be holding any ill feelings towards anyone or for a place where it was time for you to leave couple years ago. Be at peace and move on to the next project!!!

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Ma Comrade Boo ,you can't work for a private employer and accumulate years unused vacation and sick time to be carried over year after year. Most companies will cap unused sick time at maximum 48 hours - not carried forward over years. Employers are not required to pay out accrued, unused vacation and paid sick days at the time of termination, resignation or retirement. You use it or lose it, yes, no .... Some government employees have accumulated a full year or two of added vacation and sick leave time - that is crazy. Even some union leaders of government corporations are allowed to play the very same crazy unused vacation and sick leave accumulation game ....

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

This start packing up early is shortsighted, youve bought into the Age Discrimination policy of the govt. Ive never seen any country in the world declare a National Age Discrimination Policy. It's BIZARRE. We talk about being in the new afe of innovation and ideas and then we put criteria on which brains we'll accept ideas from. Must be FNM, under 30 AND know somebody.

Having 2 years of vacation is not the individuals fault. Some HR function knew vacation was being wracked up. Hire competent people in oversight positions and you wouldn't have a problem.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 2 weeks ago

@ThisIsOurs: You had better hurry up and take all of that vacation you've accrued over the years, especially if you're nearing retirement age. LMAO

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

lol. I worrying about everybody else and forget about me :-)

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TigerB 3 months, 2 weeks ago

40 years is the most anyone will get except the government request them to stay on, as in the case of the current commissioner of police and Former C.O.P Reg Ferguson

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