Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Tellis Bethel has not been fired, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames insisted yesterday, noting that the government has a plan for Bethel after he returns from leave.
The commodore was placed on leave from October 15, 2019, to January 15, 2020.
In October, Dames told The Nassau Guardian that “no one knows what’s next” for Bethel after he completes his mandatory three-month leave.
Asked yesterday if the government has a plan for when the commodore returns, Dames replied, “Absolutely.”
He continued, “[I] don’t intend to discuss that until we know where we’re at. I don’t think that’s fair to Commodore Bethel and his family and I don’t think that’s how the government ought to conduct its business.”
When pressed on whether Bethel had been fired, the minister said, “Is he? My answer to that is he has not been. He is still the commodore, isn’t he?”
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.
Two months ago, 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.