Two weeks after three senior police officers were placed on leave, another five were given letters to do the same yesterday.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Clayton Fernander, ACP Ashton Greenslade, ACP Kendal Strachan, ACP Leamond Deleveaux, and ACP Theophilus Cunningham have been asked to take their many weeks of accumulated vacation and are expected to retire at the end of their leave.
That leaves ACP Samuel Butler, ACP Ismella Davis, and ACP Paul Rolle in that rank on the force.
“These agencies are bigger than any one individual,” said Minister of National Security Marvin Dames, when asked about the matter following the Citizen Security and Justice Programme Public Awareness Launch at police headquarters.
“So, you said five, but there will be more.
“The commissioner obviously will decide, but there will be more and this is not only the police force, this is also the defense force. Those agencies that fall under my remit.
“…We are painting the picture that something sinister is amiss, something is wrong, but we are bringing this system in line to where it ought to be and this extends beyond the police and the defense force, it’s throughout the system.”
Dames said he met with Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson, Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel and their executive teams on Wednesday.
“We’re at a place and we discussed vacation, where in these agencies, there are quite a number of officers throughout the ranks with a significant amount of leave,” he said.
“Leave in excess of a year, up to two years, and in the public service you’re allowed to keep up to 15 weeks.
“This is something that successive governments have allowed to really run amok for many years, because I could recall when I was in the police force, I was one of those officers as well.
“And what the service is finding out is that a number of these persons, as they move closer to retirement, there is so much leave, it exceeds the period.
“…There are some persons whose leave will run into retirement, but they understand that.
“These agencies as well as other agencies within government are constantly in transition.
“And we have to continue to work to ensure that we are following the regulations and the policies, as well as to work towards moving these agencies and departments to a place where we can say there is succession planning, there’s training, there’s development.”
Fernander, 54, who has served on the force for 36 years, heads criminal investigations.
Greenslade, who has served for a little over 36 years, heads uniform operations.
Strachan heads operational support.
Deleveaux, 51, who has served for a little over 34 years, heads public safety.
Cunningham, who has also served for a litter over 34 years, heads disciplinary tribunals.
The officers reportedly received their letters from Ferguson yesterday.
The Nassau Guardian understands that the officers’ leave will begin on Monday.
The requirements for retirement are 60 years old or 40 years of service.
Earlier this month, Deputy Commissioner Emrick Seymour, Senior Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dean and Assistant Commissioner Clarence Reckley were also placed on leave.
Dames insisted at the time that the move was not politically motivated.
Asked yesterday whether he believes the news will impact morale, the national security minister said, “We have an agency and the morale is very strong. The morale hasn’t been stronger.”
He added that the move will assist in saving the government a significant amount of money.
“We are at a point now throughout this service, where we have this significant accumulation of leave and it puts the government in a very difficult place, when it comes to retirement, because people are looking to be paid out in large sums,” he said.
“When you look collectively across the service, that is a significant amount of monies. And, so, what we are talking about is bringing a service in line with standard and policy and this is something that is new but we have to do it.
“We have to run an efficient government and part of running an efficient government is ensuring that your policies are adhered to and all the departments are adhering to those policies.
“That you are managing your departments efficiently to ensure that people are able to take the leave, not accumulate it at the end of the day to cost the taxpayers significant amount of money.”