NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday refused to confirm whether Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Tellis Bethel will return to duty today, despite a statement indicating the commodore was slated to return to work in mid-January.
When asked about Bethel’s return to work yesterday, Dames said: “We shall see.”
Bethel was made to take three-months leave of absence.
His leave began on October 15.
There were expressions from some quarters of the public that the move could impact recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which decimated Grand Bahama and Abaco in early September.
It was pointed out that today makes three months since Bethel took leave.
“Again, I don’t want to be misquoted here as I was last week, and so we want to be respectful to all involved,” Dames said.
“As we move each day, we will certainly keep you appraised.
“We want to be respectful to the commodore. We want to be respectful to other officers within our law enforcement agencies as we should be.”
Pressed on the issue, Dames said: “These agencies are bigger than any one individual. We all know that. People take leave. We have to be respectful of that. I want to be respectful of the commodore. He is not only a colleague, but he is also a friend. I want to be respectful to every other officer within the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Defence Force.”
In March, the government sent eight senior officers in the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) on leave.
At the time, Dames warned that more law enforcement officers in agencies that fall under his remit will be placed on leave.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has said individuals who have long extended vacation will be placed on leave as a matter of government policy as the government’s is “not in the business of paying people for three and four-year vacation leave that they’ve accumulated.”