Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis recently refuted claims that his party attempted to “politicize the police force”, declaring that the Christie administration never promoted senior officers in the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) because they were supporters of the party.
The police force 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.
Davis has described the shake-up as Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ way of “purging the force of PLPs”. On Wednesday, the prime minister said the comments made by the opposition leader “suggest that the PLP appointed officers because of their political affiliation”.
But, Davis, who served as deputy prime minister during the Christie administration, told The Nassau Guardian, “Well, first of all, all of the promotions done in the police force that I am aware was done without political affiliation at all. If persons happened to have been affiliated with a party and promoted, it would not have been a factor but rather their ability and capacity to execute their work.”
The opposition leader continued, “…One look at the promotion exercise that was engaged in by the force, it can’t be said that it was biased in any way and I would argue that. The prime minister must stop misleading the Bahamian public.”
When asked if he could say with certainty that there were no politically motivated promotions at RBPF during the previous administration, Davis said, “That’s what I’m saying. I said earlier the fact that they may have been supporters of the PLP was not the decisive factor and when I say purging the force, it’s not just senior officers, there’s other officers in the force that they’re purging.”
He added, “A Davis administration would not be promoting persons on the premise that they support my political party.”
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.