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Forced Leave ‘Must Never Happen Again’

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

AFTER being sent on forced vacation leave and special assignments at government ministries, two assistant commissioners of police have spoken out saying what happened to them should never happen to another senior police officer.

ACP Leamond Deleveaux, ACP Clayton Fernander and ACP Kendal Strachan were among several officers directed to take forced vacation leave by the Minnis administration. The three officers were sent on vacation in late 2019 and early 2020.

Although the Minnis administration justified the vacation policy by citing fiscal measures, the officers believed that the administration simply wanted to sideline them. When their vacation leave ended, they were sent on special assignments at government ministries for a year.

 ACP Fernander and ACP Deleveaux appeared on the Royal Bahamas Police Force programme “COP Talk” on Friday. The men talked about their new portfolios as well as their experience being sidelined.

 ACP Fernander spoke candidly about his experience while on leave, admitting it was not easy. He pointed to his family and good friends as well as persons praying for him as his helping him get through the period.

 “During my time off, it was not easy. Why I say it was not easy. I still was in possession of our police radio set and I tuned in especially late nights and listened to what was going on out there. . .I was lying in my bed with my wife and the radio set was on, this was after midnight and there was a shooting, I think there was a murder somewhere and I (found) myself getting up and putting on clothes. . .,” he said.

 “I pray to God that what has happened to myself, ACP Strachan, and ACP Deleveaux, I pray to God that it never happens to none of my colleagues—the disrespect. I pray to God that it never, never happens, but I have put it away. I have put it onto God’s hand—leave with Him. I’m here now to continue this fight.”

 ACP Deleveaux expressed similar sentiments.

 “What I want to say is what happened to us I believe should never happen to any other senior officer anywhere in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” he said.

 The officers returned to the force shortly after the September 16 general election.

 Earlier this month, Commissioner Paul Rolle said he is “extremely pleased” to have the assistant commissioners rejoin the RBPF’s senior executive leadership team.

 ACP Deleveaux is now heading criminal proceedings and prosecutorial control while ACP Fernander has taken on the force’s intelligence management portfolio. ACP Strachan has been assigned the operations management and tactical support portfolio.

 ACP Fernander said the police force wants to continue identifying trends regarding firearms being smuggled into the country and getting into the hands of criminals.

 “We want to focus on how they are getting in,” ACP Fernander said. “The intel is speaking to us, so we now have to put some action plan in place to prevent the weapons coming into our country. So we’ll spare no effort in trying to ensure that these measures that we are putting in place to enforce it.

 “…When we look at our colleague who was shot recently at the airport, that didn’t just happen overnight. They had to plan that and it was disrespect to us and took that personally because the officer was in uniform and he still shot our colleague in uniform.”

 As for his new role, ACP Deleveaux said the commissioner has mandated that prisoners from each station will be brought to the Nassau Street court complex at 7am each day, Monday to Friday. This would give prisoners sufficient time to be fed, properly looked after if there are any concerns, and be ready for court at 10am.

Comments

hrysippus 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Something else that must never be allowed to happen again is for any of out tens of thousands of state employed workers to refuse to take his or her annual vacation and then demand payment for all that accumulated vacation upon retirement. All state employed workers must be mandated to take all their entitled vacation each and every year. If they do not need that annual vacation break from work then they are obviously not working very hard.

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moncurcool 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Totally agree with you,

However, wait to see if you will hear that from the mouth of Davis or the minister in charge of public service.

Despite Davis comments about finances in trouble, they already rescinded the policy of retired persons brought back to government getting pension and salary. There is no concern about streamlining the country's finances.

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The situation with armed forces is slightly different. They are frequently asked to cancel vacation when the state needs them. They have families too. If we are asking them to give up vacation during summer or christmas break especially we should be giving them a signed agreement that they have the flexibility to redeem that vacation at any time of their choosing within a 2 year period. And this would only apply to officers who had approved vacation at the time all leave is cancelled so you dont have the entire force trying to cash in.

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thephoenix562 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Totally agree.They do it to the junior ranks.There are too many senior officers overall.

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birdiestrachan 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It was all bout being mean spirited. NOW THE MEAN SPIRIT MAN cries like a big baby.

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sheeprunner12 6 months, 3 weeks ago

RBPF senior ranks too top heavy. No good reason to not take vacation. Just exploiting a system. Staying too long. Don't want to move on and retire

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FrustratedBusinessman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Standard practice worldwide with regards to vacation is "use it or lose it". Sure, you can choose not to take it if you like, but it is not going to rollover into the next year. It baffles my mind that someone thought the ability to accumulate vacation time was a good idea when structuring these contracts. Our country is all about da gibs until there isn't anything left to gib out.

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realfreethinker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This is such bullshit. Do they think that they are entitled to be on the gov gravy train for life?

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licks2 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Public servants do not HAVE to take their vacations. . .EVER! But General Orders clearly states that if they do not take them yearly, the "build-up" on retirements will not be paid over and above 15 weeks!

Taking vacation is a personal choice. . .if the officer don't think he/she needs the time off. . .so be it!! Robert Townsend, organizational expert said: "vacation is usually taking time away from something you love to do". . .thats for good and efficient workers!! For some public servants it is just that. . .they do not want to take any vacation!! If a public servant do not take his/her vacation before retirement. . .nothing happens really! Government pays them their promised salary each month if they are on the job or no!! They get no more pay or less no matter where they be. . .work or home!!

Government is obligated to pay for no more than 15 weeks accumalation of vacation time!! The other build-up time is paid for in the course of normal pay!!

Believe you me. . .those men were NOT sent home because of accumalations of vacation times!! FOR WHATEVER REASON THEY WERE SEND PACKING. . .IT WAS NOT VACATION TIME BUILD-UP!! They know why. . ."they wanted to sidelined us". . .usually tells how they "do persons in" in public service. . .get persons "out of the way" when they are "up to no good"!! Case in point: "sending them two officers at the prison on leave" to promote Doc's "boy"!! As for that activity not happening again? Chile please. . .it gern on NOW with the new government. . .the prison boss was sent on "leave" to get them PLP supportes them back in charge at the prison!!

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thomas 6 months, 3 weeks ago

How is it that there is any crime at all when we have officers not wanting to be away from the job. Senior officers in bed with their spouse listening to the radio. Always at the ready.

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 3 weeks ago

well he responded after the crime. Its possible. Its like a social media addiction, his mind has been trained to respond. Understandable.

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