Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Tellis Bethel has not returned to work, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday, adding that Bethel will remain out of office until at least April.
“No, the commodore hasn’t returned to work as yet,” Dames told The Nassau Guardian.
“He has taken some additional leave.”
Bethel was placed on leave on October 15, 2019. He was expected to return to work last Tuesday.
In October, Dames told The Guardian that “no one knows what’s next” for Bethel after he completes his mandatory three-month leave.
Last week, when asked whether the commodore would return to work on January 15, Dames replied, “We shall see.”
Yesterday, Dames said Bethel will stay out of office “maybe until April”.
“The thing is, we’re in touch with the commodore,” he said.
Dames continued, “We’ve been meeting. We’ve been having meetings. We’ve been in touch. We’ve been speaking on the phone… So, this is not an adversarial relationship as some may want to suggest.
“And as I said before, we want to be respectful of everyone in the process and sometimes I know the press is eager to get information and may assume that we’re keeping information from them.
“But we want to be respectful to everyone in this process and not do things that will cause any hardship to those persons who are involved.”
In December, Dames insisted that Bethel had not been fired.
The Guardian understands that Bethel has accumulated vacation of just under a year.
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.
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.