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New police chief assumes office

Police Headquarters was crowded yesterday to welcome new Commissioner Anthony Ferguson. He was appointed to take over from Ellison Greenslade, who retired and is heading to the United Kingdom to be ambassador. He was commissioner from 2010.

Ferguson is the seventh Bahamian commissioner in an independent Bahamas. He joined the force in 1980. He served in the Family Island Division, the Central and Southern Divisions in New Providence, as supervisor of the Sexual Offences and Serious Crime Squads of the Criminal Investigations Department, as head of the Homicide Squad of the Central Detective Unit, commander of the Drug Enforcement Unit and as officer in charge of the Central Division. His most recent post was deputy commissioner.

The prime minister makes the recommendation to the governor general to appoint the police commissioner after consultation with the opposition leader. Minnis chose Ferguson. He has high expectations.

“I congratulate you on your appointment,” the prime minister said at the ceremony.

“This congratulations comes with the expectation that your service will be marked by the high ideals of courage, integrity and loyalty. Your guiding star must be the rule of law and fairness. You must demonstrate toughness and compassion.”

Greenslade was generous in his praise of the new commissioner. He offered his support and endorsement of his successor.

“As I make my exit, I am satisfied beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are in good hands with Anthony Ferguson, the incoming commissioner,” he said.

Greenslade and Minnis are not the only ones who wish Ferguson well. The entire country does. There has been a serious crime problem on New Providence for a decade. There has been murder record after murder record. Another one is possible this year.

The majority of Bahamians live on the island where the problem exists. They want relief. They are tired of the violence.

Ferguson has in place a government that will support him and the officers of the force. He should ask for the resources he needs. He should redeploy police in the manner he thinks best in order to prevent and solve crime. These are not the times for a timid leader of the force.

Ferguson should not feel restricted by what was done by past commissioners. Take from their tenures the practices that were successful, but don’t be bound by their rules and styles. Their time has come and gone. Ferguson is the new constitutional head of the force. The Bahamian people will support well-thought-out reforms to the organization.

In working to deter crime, increased police presence must become a consistent norm of the force. We must make this happen rather than always finding officers for surges after another crime wave.

We recommend to the new commissioner speaking regularly to the public via the media. It is important for leaders of major state institutions to maintain the confidence of the people. Let them know what you are doing and why. Let them know what has changed and what is changing. Doing so and working hard will keep the people with you.
Ferguson pledged to do his best.

“Prime minister, thank you and I graciously accept and will do my endeavor best to uphold the mandate of this office,” he said.

We hope Ferguson is aggressive. The Bahamas is a small country. Order has broken down and feral young men are doing as they please. We need law enforcement leaders who are willing and able to impose order on those who have no respect for our laws and social norms.

Do well, Mr. Commissioner. You have our support.

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