By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
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.