Dames: Police promotions will not be political

Dames: Police promotions will not be political
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The latest round of police promotions will not be awarded based on politics, nepotism or “what a junior officer did for a senior officer”, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames declared yesterday. 

Dames stressed the process will be competency-based as he addressed hundreds of law enforcement officers at the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s annual church service at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church on Robinson Road.

“Permit me please to proffer a question to all of those officers, senior and junior who are nearing retirement,” the minister said.

“How do you see your legacy? Have you done your best to bring out the best in those around you? Has it always been about you and you alone?”

Dames continued: “Your answer to these questions will determine the future outlook of the agency you would have had sufficient time to positively impact.

“I contend that your focus should not be about trying to get promoted before you leave.  Rather, you should ask yourself if you did enough to guide and nurture the next generation of senior officers. We will all be the better and safer for it.

“This brings me to the next promotion exercise. Let’s be very clear that promotions will not be awarded based on politics, nepotism, or what a junior officer did for a senior officer.  Promotions will be for officers who possess the skills and competency, to hold the ranks to which they aspire.”

Speaking to reporters following the service, Dames said officers are currently being interviewed as part of the promotion exercise.

However, he noted the last promotion exercise under the former administration “really put us in a tough place”.

“We need to kind of find that balance,” Dames said.

“So, we are looking at needs now and how do we address the needs and where are the needs and we’re looking at capabilities, and competencies.

“We’ve got to put people who are capable and competent in these positions to ensure that they would know what to do and how to conduct themselves, and how to manage the people under them for our sake; for all of our sakes.”

The police promotion exercise is being overseen by Deputy Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle in accordance with the Police Act.

Last month, Police Staff Association Chairman Sonny Miller commended the commissioner and the deputy commissioner on the process thus far, telling Eyewitness News Online the associated had not received any complaints related to the ongoing process.

He said the association will closely monitor the process.

A man power audit undertaken by the Ministry of National Security in 2018 outlined critical challenges in organization resource management practices and pointed to a “flawed and biased” promotion exercise, as well as the senior command of the force being too top-heavy.

It found that the selection boards were not formed and the promotion exercise began with interviews conducted by the promotion board, which was headed by the then Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade instead of the deputy commissioner.

The audit further noted that some officers “may or may not have been promoted justly/unjustly due to the lack of any systematic proof that they were the most qualified candidates.

The exercise was conducted shortly before the May 10 general election in contravention of the Police Act.

Promotions included two superintendents to chief superintendents; 76 assistant superintendents to superintendents; 90 inspectors to assistant superintendents; and 107 sergeants to inspectors.

It remains to be seen how many officers will be promoted in the latest exercise.