Were the RBPF dismissals politically or financially motivated?
The Free National Movement (FNM) government of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis is being accused of purging the civil service, especially the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), of Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) supporters, after eight assistant commissioners of police (ACPs) were sent on leave. In order for this troubling allegation to have any merit, it would first have to be proven that all eight ACPs were vocal supporters of the PLP, otherwise those making these allegations are only engaging in political demagoguery.
With The Bahamas being traditionally split right down the middle, what is the likelihood of Minnis playing Russian roulette with the Bahamian electorate with an election only three years away? Based on what National Security Minister Marvin Dames has said to the press, each of the ACPs had accrued upwards of 100 weeks of vacation, and all had served 30 years. It was my understanding that anytime after 30 years would be totally at the pleasure of the government. After you would’ve done your 30 years, the state has the prerogative to send you home with no strings attached.
With the ACP salaries being in the neighborhood of $60,000 annually, it would mean that the state would be offloading $480,000 that it would otherwise have to dole out to eight of the officers collectively had they remained engaged. If this exercise is political victimization, then the very meaning of the word has been turned on its head, based on the attractive incentive each of the senior officers have been given. The ACPs all get to chill out at home doing nothing while collecting an impressive monthly salary of $5,000 for a year or more. Then they will transition to retirement with an impressive pension that is double the minimum wage salary of civil servants.
In closing, it is difficult to understand why the morale of the Police force would be low in light of the recent dismissals, considering the police manpower audit tabled in the House of Assembly last year that revealed that the senior command of the organization was “too top-heavy”, with only half the constables needed currently engaged – officers who typically engage in combat with the criminal elements. In other words, the RBPF has far too many chiefs and not enough Indians. There’s reason to believe that the RBPF promotions of 2014 and 2017 were politically motivated.
With the youth employment of those between the ages 15 to 24 being over 24 percent nationally, civil servants over 60 as well as those eligible for pensions should be jettisoned in order to make room for these young Bahamians who are finding it difficult to gain employment. I am inclined to believe that the dismissals of the eight ACPs were based on economics, not politics as has been alleged by political demagogues.
– Kevin Evans