Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said the government is taking a “zero tolerance” approach to corruption in law enforcement.
“The comment that we’re making is that we’re cleaning up the system and the approach is that we’re taking these agencies – the police force, the corrections department and the defense force – we’re taking a zero tolerance approach to those officers,” Dames said in a recent interview.
“…It’s the minority who have a challenge in deciding what side of the law they want to be on.
“You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t be a corrections officer and be a criminal. You can’t be a corrections officer and you’re providing a service, an illicit service, to the criminals. We can’t allow that.”
When asked how he intends to clean up the system, Dames said, “Since we have come into office you would’ve seen that the arrests of these persons have increased and we clean it up by ensuring that we are recruiting the right type of individuals and also ensuring that we have the right individuals in the right positions.”
Dames said his ministry is reevaluating the way officers are recruited.
“In the past, you know, there was certainly not a lot of emphasis and focus being put on the quality of individuals that were being recruited,” he said.
“We have to tighten up on that because the vast majority of the officers in these agencies are hardworking Bahamians who show up each day to ensure that we all are safe, and to make a living to put bread on the tables for their families.
“We can’t allow the small minority, who figured they want to find a way to add to that income, even if it’s illicit, to tarnish the names and the reputation of those hardworking officers.”
He added: “Once someone wears a uniform and takes an oath and [says] that they will protect you, you want to know that they take that oath very seriously and it’s not mere words.”