Bell sounds off

Former Natl. Security Min. calls police manpower audit an attack on Greenslade

Former Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell said the recently tabled manpower audit on the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) was an attack on former Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade.

The audit tabled by National Security Minister Marvin Dames Wednesday, highlighted a flawed promotional exercise and suggested that some promotions may have been unwarranted. The audit detailed how during the interview process for promotions, officers were asked nothing pertaining to their jobs or ability.

“The vacant promotional process was greatly flawed,” the report read. “Policy does exist to allow for impartiality, however, such was not the case in the last two exercises.

“During the last exercise, the Selection Board was not formed and the promotion exercise began with interviews conducted by the Promotion Board. Also, the commissioner of police headed the Promotion Board instead of the deputy dommissioner, who, is mandated by policy to assume this role.”

In an interview with Eyewitness News last night, Bell who served under the former Christie administration said, he was displeased with the way the report was conducted.

“From what I’ve seen, I’m very disappointed in such a report,” Bell said.

“Those that conducted the report know fully that the commissioner of police has an absolute and unfettered discretion  to promote  and recommend to the minister, persons of and above the rank of inspector. They are promoted by the Police Service Commission, which is a completely independent body.

“It seems to me that they may very well be attacking the former Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade … from what I’ve seen, and I’m surprised, shocked and disappointed in how they went about the report.”

Some 800 plus officers were also promoted right before the May 2017 general election, according to the report, and many have suggested that it was an election ploy to influence their votes.

Bell said, however, that the decision to promote can be interpreted in many ways.

“The fact of the matter is, those officers were deserving of  promotion and it could not have come fast enough, as far  as I’m concerned,” he said.

“When you work those jobs in the Family Islands, areas of Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), the Central Detective Unit (CDU) and all those areas where  you work horrendous hours,  you are sometimes shot at, you are forgotten about … a promotion anytime is the best time.”

According to the report, the interview process also went against general policy. Eyewitness News spoke to Police Staff Association (PSA) Chairman Sonny Miller on the issue.

He said several officers did express concern about the process. Many of them, he said, were reportedly only asked how they were doing, or if their shoes were clean before the interview ended.

“We expressed our concern on behalf of the membership to the powers that be, even though that is not our jurisdiction,” Miller said.

“The only response was that the process was done fairly. We do not question the promotions, however, because our officers, we believe, are deserving.”