Nassau, Bahamas –After being forced to take more than eight months of accumulated vacation, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kendal Strachan is set to be transferred to the Willie Mae Pratt Centre for Girls as its new head of security.
Eyewitness News Online understands Strachan reportedly received the directive in a letter from the Ministry of National Security on Monday – his first day back from an eight-month long vacation leave.
When asked about Strachan’s transfer yesterday, Commission of Police Anthony Ferguson said he had no comment and referred the matter to National Security Minister Marvin Dames.
However, Dames could not be reached for comment up to press time.
Eyewitness News understands Strachan will be seeking legal advice on the matter.
In March, Strachan, along with seven other senior police officers were directed to take their weeks of accumulated vacation days.
Among those officers were Deputy Commissioner Emrick Seymour, Senior ACP Stephen Dean, ACP Clarence Reckley, ACP Clayton Fernander, ACP Ashton Greenslade, ACP Leamond Deleveaux, and ACP Theophilus Cunningham.
To date, several Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) officers, including RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel, have also been forced to take their accumulated vacation leave.
Attorney Wayne Munroe weighed in on matter yesterday.
“In a free country you can do whatever you want, once you’re willing to take the consequences,” he said.
“I haven’t seen in detail their justification for it. I wouldn’t imagine that a head of security at a girl’s school is at the same level of assistant commissioner of police.”
Munroe pointed to a matter in his professional tenure regarding the ability of the government to move a public servant against their will.
“As I recalled that decision, the decision of the court that was not appealed, was that you can only forcefully move someone if you promote them.
“As far as I am aware the only ranks for promotion from assistant commissioner of police is deputy commissioner of police and commissioner of police, certainly not a security officer, so I would think that there would be an ability to challenge that.”
But Munroe said there is a more fundamental issue at play.
“The fundamental issue is the [corruption] trials of Frank Smith and Shane Gibson should have demonstrated to the entire country the need for you to have independent senior ranks in the police force,” he said.
“In the Frank Smith case, you had the debacle of the virtual complainant saying she was pursued by then ACP Paul Rolle, now Deputy Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle. He was promoted.
“…And then you had Inspector Deborah Thompson who was promoted to ASP admitting that in hindsight she had done something that ought never to have happened.”
Munroe added: “It is important that the police who wield great power be independent from the political directorate.”
Noting the directive for Strachan’s transfer came from the Ministry of National Security, the veteran attorney and politician said: “Clearly we have a system where the people who wield great state powers are not supposed to be connected by the hip to the minister, to the political directorate.
“And you may have junior officers reveling because they think, oh I could get promoted now.
“Those are exactly the people who should not occupy high office because they don’t understand the need to be independent.
“And if you are going to be an independent senior officer, you should complain about anything that’s done to somebody else to effect their independence because the very same thing will be done to you.”