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Fernander met with minister of health about PHA assignment

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Clayton Fernander has written to Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson advising that a “special assignment” he was given at the Ministry of Health would not require 12 months and would not require him to leave his desk, according to his attorney, Wayne Munroe, QC.

Upon his return from a months-long leave earlier this month, Fernander was given a “special assignment” requiring him to report to the Ministry of Health for 12 months.

Munroe also noted that Fernander has complied with the task of meeting with the minister of health and permanent secretary, but that he now remains “hampered” from completing the assignment due to written information that the ministry has yet to provide. 

“He met with them, he heard orally their concerns. They were supposed to give him something in writing as a record and he wrote a preliminary report to the commissioner to say he’d met with them, he identified the concerns, but concluded that it wouldn’t take a year and didn’t require him to leave his office at headquarters,” Munroe said yesterday. 

“To me, he said it’d take a couple weeks at the most.”

He added, “So he did a preliminary report, he was supposed to get [documents] from the minister – who by all accounts got busy with this coronavirus.

“But you would’ve thought these concerns would have been documented before they required a whole ACP, eh? Isn’t that how a government department would work? You accumulate your concerns, you put them in writing and then you send them in writing to the commissioner of police, so they should exist somewhere in writing, hey?

“And you would think that they should’ve been sent to the commissioner before he decided ACP Fernander ought to have this assignment. But it appears they weren’t in writing, and so he’s still waiting to receive it so he could do a final report.”

As he noted that Fernander is still receiving his full pay and benefits during this time, Munroe yesterday called the situation a “farce” and a “waste of resources”.

“I don’t know that the commissioner has given him any other assignment,” Munroe said.

“So it may be that until the Ministry of Health can supply the writing, he’ll just be in a position of waiting to assign resources when he gets it. It couldn’t have been that catastrophic and urgent, could it?”

He added, “Now, I have my view that this is a farce. He has a view that this can’t be that serious. But you have to give people the benefit of the doubt and he has to carry out assignments given to him as an ACP and if you want to waste resources, you waste resources.”

Noting that Fernander is not taking legal action for the time being, Munroe also said: “And if it was a farce just trying to clear the way for your people, then they’ll eventually come to that and if and when they come to that we will be ready to deal with them.”

Fernander is the second senior officer to return to duty and be reassigned.

In December, ACP Ken Strachan was reassigned as the “chief security officer” at the Department of Social Services.

Strachan, who is also represented by Munroe, resisted the move and has since taken legal action.

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