By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday said Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson should by now have identified a successor, as he said the police chief is “nearing the end of his reign” over the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Mr Dames, in delivering a speech during the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s annual church service, said Commissioner Ferguson as well as his executive team should “know by name” the next generation of leaders, adding his focus should be on preparing the “next crop of leaders” ahead of his inevitable departure.
Mr Dames told reporters afterwards that when that time comes, the police chief, who has served as commissioner for more than two years, should ideally be “ready and excited to move on,” because he, like many others in the RBPF are “all just passing through”.
Mr Dames suggested that the RBPF is just one of the country’s various law enforcement agencies that is “going through some form of restructuring” internally, meaning that “anything is possible” in terms of who leads these agencies. And because of that Mr Dames said, neither Commissioner Ferguson nor his executive team should be “intimidated” to call the name of their successors, and neither should they “be afraid to prepare them for future leadership”.
“That is what good leaders do,” Mr Dames said.
To that end, Mr Dames said the impending RBPF promotion exercise will not be conducted based on politics, nepotism, “or what a junior officer did for a senior officer”, but rather on whether officers possess the necessary “skills and competency” to “hold the ranks to which they aspire”.
Commissioner Ferguson, who enlisted in the RBPF in November 1980, officially became commissioner of police on October 20, 2017, after serving as acting commissioner for several months leading up to that date. He succeeded Ellison Greenslade, who has since been appointed high commissioner to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and as permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation.
Last year, a police insider told The Tribune that the commissioner and former Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Tellis Bethel were reportedly among a group of persons slated for pre-retirement leave in the near future. Commodore Bethel was recently sent on three months’ vacation and is due back to work this month.
And that came after eight senior officers controversially received notice to take accrued vacation leave effective immediately in March of last year. Some of the officers’ leave was pre-retirement.
In making his remarks during yesterday’s church service, Mr Dames singled out the police chief on the issue of the RBPF being “modernised and restructured,” saying: “Commissioner Ferguson, by now you and your executive team should know by name the next generation of police leaders. You should not be intimidated to call their names, nor should you be afraid to prepare them for future leadership. That is what good leaders do.”
Concerning “all of those officers, senior and junior who are nearing retirement,” Mr Dames then mused aloud: “How do you see your legacy? Have you done your best to bring out the best in those around you? Has it always been about you and you alone? Your answer to these questions will determine the future outlook of the agency you would have had sufficient time to positively impact.”
Mr Dames added: “I contend that your focus should not be about trying to get promoted before you leave. Rather, you should ask yourself if you did enough to guide and nurture the next generation of senior officers. We will all be the better and safer for it.”
When questioned on the issue by The Tribune after the service, and for him to clarify the significance of highlighting Commissioner Ferguson in particular and his executive team during his remarks, Mr Dames replied: “We’re all just passing through.
“Commissioner Ferguson I believe, he is nearing the end of his reign through time,” he continued. “And I note that whenever that time comes, he would be ready and excited to move on. Because we’re all just passing through, all just passing through.”
Mr Dames added: “…These are very dynamic agencies. They continue to grow. We have to continue to educate, to train, we have to continue to plan, we have to continue to develop, and these are all agencies that are going through some form of restructuring. And so anything is possible.
“We’re working to build an organisation or agency for the future. All of us have a vested responsibility to ensure that we prepare the next crop of leaders. We have an obligation to do that. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about us individually, although we do look for some individual reward.
“At the end of the day it’s the quality of service we provide to the Bahamian people. And that’s what we’re seeking to do. And that’s why we’re working locally as well as internationally to professionalize these agencies, to bring them in line with international standards.”