Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that the government’s handling of Assistant Commissioner of Police Ken Strachan does not send a good message to the police force.
Strachan returned to duty last Monday after being ordered to use accrued vacation in March, and was presented with a letter signed by Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson appointing him as chief of security for the Willie Mae Pratt and Simpson Penn juvenile schools.
Strachan’s lawyer, Wayne Munroe, QC, in a letter to Ferguson, said that the directive to move Strachan may be unlawful.
Munroe also indicated last week that Strachan intends to sue Ferguson and the government.
Davis said, “There are certain posts – the senior posts– that require the active participation of the prime minister in these appointments.
“So, for the minister to be able to carry it out, he has to have the blessing of the prime minister, and for the prime minister to be causing such disruption in the police force at the level it’s occurring, it doesn’t send a good message in the force itself.
“It impacts morale. It doesn’t inspire and encourage the kind of work that you would expect of the police force to help arrest the challenges that we are now having because everyone in the police are concerned now about what’s going to happen to them.”
According to Munroe, when Strachan returned to work on December 12, he stepped out of office for a dentist appointment, which he had notified his staff of.
However, when he returned to work later that day to hand in a sick slip, his staff told him that they had been instructed to deactivate his access card, email, his access to the police criminal profile system and radio, Munroe said.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames has maintained the new appointment is not a demotion by any “stretch of the imagination”.
Strachan was one of eight senior police officers who were suddenly placed on leave in March.
In March, ACP Clayton Fernander, ACP Ashton Greenslade, Strachan, ACP Leamond Deleveaux and ACP Theophilus Cunningham were asked to take their many weeks of accumulated vacation, with the expectation that they would retire at the end of their leave.
Just a few weeks earlier, Deputy Commissioner Emrick Seymour, Senior ACP Stephen Dean and ACP Clarence Reckley were handed the same treatment.
The requirements for retirement are 60 years old or 40 years of service.
A police force manpower audit, which was tabled in the House of Assembly last May, revealed that the senior command of the force was too top-heavy.
The Bahamian constitution, however, provides that the power to remove an assistant commissioner is vested in the governor general.