Dames: Strachan has a right to legal recourse

Dames: Strachan has a right to legal recourse
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames (file photo)

Minister does not view move of ACP to Simpson Penn as demotion

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The transfer of Assistant Commissioner of Police Ken Strachan to chief security officer at juvenile detention centers is not a demotion, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday.

Strachan was notified of his reassignment to the Simpson Penn and Willie Mae Pratt Centres following his return from mandated vacation.

“What is a demotion? His remit and his responsibility would have been to advise the minister of social services and to serve as the chief security officer and advisor for that ministry,” the minister said in Parliament Square.

“You know, social services is a part of the crime prevention network. We have Urban Renewal there. We have the Simpson Penn and the Willie Mae Pratt [Centres]. We have the schools throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. We have the communities as well.

Dames said: “And so, there is a lot of work there. There is a lot of work there. I understand too, that it is a very sensitive situation and I totally get that. I totally understand that. And so, with that in mind I just want to be careful how we proceed moving forward.”

Strachan returned to duty last Monday after the commissioner of police instructed him to take his accrued vacation in March.

Upon Strachan’s return, he was presented with a letter signed by the commissioner about his new post.

He has refused to transfer and sought attorney Wayne Munroe, QC, to represent him.

“That’s his right,” Dames said.

“I mean the government would have taken a position.

“The government maintains that position. We’ll just have to see how it unfolds.

Asked about possible legal action, the minister said: “Well, those are his rights.

“We can’t deny a person of their rights to be represented, right.”

In a letter dated December 9, 2019, the commissioner advised Strachan that a “collaborative decision” was made to appoint him as chief of security for the centres.

The appointment took effected immediately.

All Strachan’s benefits, entitlements and pensions were to remain the same.

In a letter dated December 12, 2019, Attorney Wayne Munroe, who represents Strachan, wrote to the commissioner challenging lawfulness of the order.

Munroe asked for clarity on what the attorney called ambiguities and concerns on four points: the parties who made the collaborative decision; how a substantive post can be ancillary to Strachan’s continued service as ACP; what subject to the protocol of permanent secretary meant; and why Strachan was expected to report to any civilian given his senior rank.

Munroe insisted that Strachan cannot be transferred laterally without his permission nor demoted if he has done nothing requiring discipline.

When contacted yesterday, Munroe said the commissioner had yet to respond.

Strachan along with seven other senior officers were required to take accrued vacation earlier this year.

Yesterday, Dames was also asked about the future of those senior officers when they return.

He said he was unable to say what would become of them until the government has made a decision “on the way forward with respect to anyone”.

Dames said: “I don’t think it’s fair to those officers and their families; it’s not fair to the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and so, you know, that’s as much as a I have to say about that.”