Many people do not appreciate the extent to which promotions in the police force and the public service generally are important to public service workers. People wait on these promotions with bated breath and are devastated when they do not receive them.
That was what happened last week as the Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle announced the Government’s choices for promotion in the Royal Bahamas Police Force at the mid-management level. What typically happens is that people who are adversely affected go on vacation. The Force is already tight for manpower.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis ordered the calls to those promoted to be stopped reportedly because there was so much push back.
Perry Christie when he was Prime Minister did the largest promotion exercise ever in the Force. Unfortunately for him it came too late to save him. And even with that the FNM made a meal of it first by saying that it was a bribe before the general election and should not have been done but also they complained that too many of their people were left out.
The institutions of the country are riven down the middle between PLP and FNM, The PLPs swear that when the FNM is power they have no chance of promotions.
So when the list came out last week of the police promotions, the PLPs on the Force confirmed that no PLP was promoted on the Force.
The argument they say is that the Commissioner of Police can prepare whatever list he wants, the people who really have the power are the police aides to the Prime Minister who if one PLP makes it to the list they strip the names from the list and there is no appeal from them.
The situation is just as bad in Customs, the Prison, the Hospital and Emergency Services there and Immigration. Immigration has classes from 2014, 2016 and 2017 that have been serving in those capacities since they were hired as Trainee Immigration Officers and they still are not confirmed. It is quite sad. Customs has had no promotions in its junior ranks in the four years that the FNM has been in power.
So when the advanced poll takes place on Thursday 9 September 2021, the Prime Minister and his party will likely pay a heavy price for not dealing with these issues.
The people in the public service are united that the FNM has been the worst administration in the history of the country and the PLP has a lot of work to restore systems and integrity back to the offices which they hope to soon occupy.