NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Acting Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Dr. Raymond King yesterday deflected questions about the pending return of Commodore Tellis Bethel, noting that his time is spent strategizing the country’s border patrol.
Bethel was made to take three-months leave of absence that began October 15.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames has confirmed Bethel’s leave has been extended until April.
Yesterday, the RBDF staged a meet and greet luncheon at the Coral Harbour base to unveil a calendar of events for the organization’s 40th anniversary.
When asked about the Bethel’s leave, King said: “I have been entrusted with the operational use of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force.
“The minister, on behalf of the National Security Council, he’s charged with the command, administration and discipline of the defense force, and he speaks to those matters.
“From my desk, Commodore Bethel is on leave and in his absence we have tremendous work that we are doing – the humanitarian efforts in Abaco, particularly Grand Bahama, [and] protecting our southern shores.
“As you probably would have noticed, most of the arrests that have occurred we have choked them as deep south as possible, so we are running some effective strategies, and that takes up my time.”
In March, the government sent eight senior officers in the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) on leave.
At the time, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames warned that more law enforcement officers in agencies that fall under his remit will be placed on leave.
Last month, 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.”
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 is “not in the business of paying people for three and four-year vacation leave that they’ve accumulated”.