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‘I felt betrayed’

Rolle airs grievances with last govt over treatment of RBPF senior command

Outgoing Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle revealed yesterday that he felt “betrayed and deceived” by the Minnis administration over its handling of several senior officers sent on leave.

Rolle said his relationship with the government became so frayed that he told the former prime minister he wanted to take early retirement and the administration could “find someone else”.

“I told them no, I’m not going to do it,” said Rolle, who was responding to a question from The Nassau Guardian during an episode of ‘Cop Talk’ with host Sergeant Makelle Pinder.

“I refused to do it. I said if you all want them gone you should do it. You all do the letter and I will serve it.

“So they prepared a letter for me to sign and I told them I’m not signing that.

“I refused to sign the letter to put them on leave. I said ‘if you all want them to leave, you all sign it, give it to me and I will serve it.’’’

In 2019, Deputy Commissioner Emrick Seymour, Senior Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dean and assistant commissioners Clarence Reckley, Clayton Fernander, Theophilus Cunningham, Ashton Greenslade, Ken Strachan, and Leamond Deleveaux were all directed to take their months of accumulated vacation.

Once their vacation ended, Fernander, Strachan and Deleveaux were reassigned as chief of security at various government entities.

Those officers later received letters in 2021 extending their deployment to the other government ministries and agencies.

“When the time came for the extension I refused, in January [2021],” said Rolle, who was appointed commissioner in March 2020.

“I told them, ‘Give me your Cabinet conclusion because that’s not me. I don’t think I should be the one doing it.’

“I didn’t want to do it. In March, again it came up and they asked me to do it and I refused to do it, and then again in May.

“I think the relationship was getting a little tense because of my stance. I refused to do it. I said ‘you give me something in writing and I will carry out your instructions. Without that, I’m not going to do it.’

“[Deputy Commissioner Ismella Davis-] Delancy was getting ready to retire in June and I went back and I said, ‘I want to bring Fernander back. I want him to be deputy.’

“It got hot, but I had to maintain decorum. I never said anything. I maintained my professionalism. They told me, ‘No, it’s not going to happen.’

“Then I got my written instructions, which I carried out. It was either that or leave.

“After doing it, I did not like the way it was done. I felt like I was deceived and betrayed.

“I then went … to the prime minister to let him know I was going to retire. ‘You all could find somebody else.’

“That would have been in July. Then I got a call from the attorney general saying that, ‘PM has something for you.’

“I thought that was my marching orders. He gave me the [documents for the] prorogation and dissolution of Parliament.

“So I was stuck as provost marshal. It was then me and the governor general until September.”

Dignity

Once the Free National Movement was defeated, Rolle said he called Fernander, Deleveaux and Strachan and apologized for the way they were treated.

“I didn’t wait for anyone to say to me, ‘Bring them back,’” Rolle said. 

“I called them. I called Fernander, Deleveaux and Ken Strachan and I apologized to them for the way they were treated.

“I also said to them that I will do what is required to restore your dignity.

“I disagreed with the way it was done and I did everything that I believed I could do within my power to restore their dignity.

“Ken was awarded the Queen’s jubilee medal. Fernander was appointed deputy. He’s going to be commissioner. Leamond Deleveaux is going to be deputy commissioner.

“I said to the other assistant commissioners, ‘Look, you all are young. Sit and allow me to do this for these guys. I don’t want to hear no complaints. I ask you to support them. These are your seniors and I do not like the way they were treated. That’s water under the bridge.’

“The former administration was voted out.

“They are not here. I have not heard from them since the government changed.

“… I move ahead with professionalism with the new prime minister and new government. I work with the new government until my time to demit office. Now is the time and I am ready to leave and I am honored to see Clayton be elevated to commissioner of police.”

Rolle said he remained silent on the issue because it was not the right time.

“Now is the time to speak,” he said.

“This is my last day in office. If you want this uniform, you can have this uniform.

“I will be a civilian and I will make my intervention on [behalf of] myself. Nobody came and defended me. There was a whole lot said about me in the public arena and on social media. I have yet to hear one person stand up and defend me. None.”

Rolle demits office July 5 when Deputy Commissioner Fernander will assume the office of commissioner.

In October, shortly after returning to the force, Fernander said his time away from the force was not easy.

He said he spent many nights listening to the police scanner.

“I pray to God that what has happened to us, myself, ACP Strachan, and ACP Deleveaux, I pray to God that it never happens to none of my colleagues – the disrespect,” he said.

“I pray to God that that never, never happens.

“I have put it away, put it into God’s hands and leave it with Him. I’m here to continue this fight.”

In March 2021, then Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said the administration did not intend to disrespect the men.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.

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