Successive Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) governments have attempted to “politicize the police force” by appointing senior police officers based on political affiliation, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis charged on Wednesday night.
During a town hall meeting at the Edmund Moxey Park, Minnis said, “The FNM (Free National Movement) does not appoint senior officers based on their political affiliation.”
He continued, “Apparently, this is what the PLP does. Our manpower exercises and policies are determined by the overall needs of the force and the best interests of the Bahamian people…not by what party an individual belongs to.”
The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) recently experienced a shake-up with eight senior officers being directed by the commissioner to take their many weeks of accumulated vacation. The officers are expected to retire at the end of their leave.
However, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis has asserted that the prime minister is “purging the police force of PLPs”.
Minnis told a crowd of FNM supporters on Wednesday that he found “some recent comments by the leader of the opposition on the retirement of senior police officers very disturbing”.
“The leader of the opposition’s comments suggest that the PLP appointed officers because of their political affiliation,” he said.
“His comments suggest that he knows the politics of the members of the force including senior officers. You know, I did not know their politics until the leader of the opposition revealed their politics.
“This shows how the PLP has attempted to politicize the police force. His comments also suggest that as prime minister, which he never will become, he would appoint senior officers who are PLP while discriminating against FNMs.”
The prime minister claimed that the PLP has “a long history of favoritism and of victimization”, asserting that the party victimizes individuals in law enforcement who are not PLPs.
“…But the FNM is very different,” Minnis said.
“We will continue to appoint and to promote the best people regardless of political affiliation. We will promote Bahamians who are qualified to do the job. Let us never forget the sad and sordid history of the PLP.”
The eight officers who were recently sent on leave are Deputy Commissioner Emrick Seymour, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Stephen Dean, ACP Clarence Reckley, ACP Clayton Fernander, ACP Ashton Greenslade, ACP Kendal Strachan, ACP Leamond Deleveaux and ACP Theophilus Cunningham.
This leaves ACP Samuel Butler, ACP Ismella Davis and ACP Paul Rolle in that rank on the force.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames has suggested that there will be more moves in law enforcement.
“These agencies are bigger than any one individual,” he said.
Minnis also blasted Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin, asserting that she is “plenty talk and no action just like most PLPs”.
“She spends all her time in the House [of Assembly] rowing morning, noon and night and not making much sense,” he said.
“She has represented Englerston since 2002 and [has] very little to show for this on the ground of Englerston… She has been a very, very poor representative. So, Englerston, you must come with us.”
He added: “Since 2017, both Shanendon Cartwright in St. Barnabas and Mark Humes in Fort Charlotte have opened up community centers in their communities and she could not do that since 2002.”
The prime minister accused Hanna-Martin of being “busy trying to get rid of Brave Davis”.
“It seems like that’s her full-time job,” Minnis said.
He added: “It is very sad that over the course of 17 years Hanna-Martin has neglected Englerston but Englerston will finally be in the FNM column.”
Minnis touted that his administration has approved $3.7 billion in international investment since 2017.
He also announced that once the new budget year commences, the government will give Crown land to individuals throughout The Bahamas who would have have applied for it.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice