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Police chief fires back at PSA

  • Ellison Greenslade. FILE

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 21, 2013

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Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said police officers could remain on 12-hour shifts for another year or perhaps even two years, depending on the need.

Police Staff Association Chairman Dwight Smith threatened to take legal action last week if the organization did not hear from government officials about compensation for officers within two weeks.

Smith claimed officers are worn out after working extended hours for more than a month.

Greenslade said everyone in his organization should be cautious about what they say and ensure they do not step out of order.

“I want the public to understand that the commissioner is not going to be dictated to,” Greenslade said in a recent interview.

“I operate within the law. I am governed by the Police Force Act of 2009. [Again] I am not going to be dictated to.

“I said that at a previous press conference and I say that again.

“I want us all to go back to a position of respect because when you dismiss the tenets of respects, any of us, we get ourselves into difficult waters.”

The PSA said it sent a letter to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie on October 11 outlining the law that dictates when government employees should receive overtime pay.

Asked whether any consideration is being given to more compensation, Greenslade said it is a non-issue.

He said officers should not be complaining and should not petition the government over matters that are their sworn duty.

“We have to all be very careful when we speak, the commissioner and all of us, that we do not say the wrong things,” he said.

“We should not step out of order. Our actions, disposition and the words that we speak make a huge difference.

“The commissioner is in charge of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and by law reserves the right to determine how police officers will work.”

Greenslade said Smith must remember his place within the organization, and should “fall under authority and discipline”.

He said he is satisfied as commissioner that the needs of officers are being met.

Officers recently received a food allowance of one meal per shift, which cost the force more than $100,000, Greenslade pointed out as an example of officers’ benefits.

“I want to ensure that I remain respectful and that the officers remain respectful,” he said.

“I believe it is ingratitude to say to the Bahamian public that we are dissatisfied.

“...I don’t want to speak too pointedly towards this because I don’t want police officers to lose their benefits, but I am sure you are not going to find many organizations that enjoy the benefits that the RBPF enjoys.”

Earlier this month, National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage said he is “not deaf” to the PSA’s calls for compensation, though he did not say officers would be compensated for working longer hours.

He said any changes to the current crime strategy would be based on advice from Greenslade.

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