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Bethel’s future in RBDF remains unclear

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday refused to reveal what will happen to Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Tellis Bethel once he returns from a mandated three-month leave.

The commodore was placed on leave on October 15, 2019. He is expected to return to work today.

In October, Dames told The Nassau Guardian that “no one knows what’s next” for Bethel after he completes his mandatory three-month leave.

Last month, the minister insisted that Bethel had not been fired.

Yesterday, when pressed on whether Bethel will return to work today, Dames replied, “We shall see.”

He added, “Again, I don’t want to be misquoted here as I was last week. And so, we want to be respectful to all involved and as we move each day we’ll certainly keep you abreast, but we want to be respectful to the commodore.

“We want to be respectful to other officers within our other law enforcement agencies, as we should be.”

Dames continued, “…These agencies are bigger than any one individual, we all know that. People take leave. We have to be respectful of that. I want to be respectful of the commodore. He is not only a colleague, he is also a friend.”

The Guardian understands that Bethel has accumulated vacation of just under a year.

At the time, the decision to remove Bethel had raised eyebrows among some observers given that the RBDF is instrumental in Hurricane Dorian relief efforts on Grand Bahama and Abaco, where security concerns on the ground persisted in the immediate aftermath.

Following criticism from the opposition regarding the timing of Bethel’s leave, Dames said, “The good thing is these agencies – like the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and Royal Bahamas Defence Force – are built in such a way where no matter what happens, they continue to function. That’s why they’re military agencies and they run by a particular standard.”

An internal memorandum – dated October 15, 2019, and signed by Captain Adrian B. Chriswell – revealed that Captain Raymond King will serve as acting commander of the RBDF until January 2020.

On October 6, the Cabinet Office announced King’s appointment as deputy commander.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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