HANDING OVER OF INSTRUMENTS – Outgoing Commissioner of Police Paul Farquharson passes the instruments to incoming Acting Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson at the Royal Bahamas Police Force Handover Ceremony at Police Headquarters, Nassau on Friday, January 18, 2008. (Photo/Patrick Hanna)
A FULL TEXT OF PRIME MINISTER REMARKS AT THE HAND OVER
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We mark an important day in the life of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Having given 41 years of loyal and faithful public service, Paul Farquharson officially retires from the Police Force today, 18th January, 2008 and, I am pleased to say, commences new responsibilities in the foreign service of our country.
Today we acknowledge and thank Mr. Farquharson for the leadership and guidance he provided the Force as Commissioner over these past eight years.
The retiring Commissioner came from within the ranks of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. His performance on the job has been marked with distinction. His integrity and devotion to duty earned him the respect of all.
Mr. Farquharson’s ability to command respect, and his concern for the welfare of his officers, speaks to the character of this man who rose from humble beginnings in Long Island defying the odds and rising to the highest law enforcement position in our country.
Important progress was achieved in the modernization of the Police Force on his watch during what were, and continue to be, difficult and challenging times in the life of our country.
Mr. Farquharson will long be remembered by members of the Police Force for his dedication to the development of the Force.
He has been rightly credited with bringing a spirit of transparency and accountability to the Police Force, considerably expanding the police interaction with the community by placing increased emphasis on police contact with the community outside of its usual crime fighting activity.
Mr. Farquharson can be particularly pleased by the regional and international recognition given innovative police initiatives conceived and expanded on his watch.
Today, I pay public tribute to Commissioner Paul Farquharson who has ably set the stage for those who will follow him.
It is noteworthy I believe, and an indication of our maturing democracy, that Mr. Farquharson, appointed to head the Police Force by me, served a full term under another Administration, and is now scheduled to assume new important duties during a new term of my Administration.
On behalf of the Government and people of The Bahamas and on behalf of officers and members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, I pay tribute to Commissioner Paul Farquharson and I express our profound appreciation, thanks and gratitude for the devoted and professional service he has rendered to his country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The retirement of Mr. Farquharson takes place at a time when a new crop of police officers, from a new, younger generation are being prepared to assume the mantel of leadership.
The task has fallen to us to identify the next leader of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
It is not an easy task. Several individuals in the ranks have displayed the mettle and the capacity to lead. This augurs well for the Police Force because every leader requires a competent support team.
The next Commissioner of Police will be required to advance the Police Force in this new age when crime-fighting and policing require facility with innovative and quickly advancing technologies and scientific competencies. It is also required that the Commissioner possess the traditional discipline and good human relations skills needed for effective organization and management of a major institution as is The Police Force.
And so we will be very deliberate in the process of selecting the next leader of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
You will all be aware that a number of senior police officers, from a younger generation of law enforcement personnel will, over the coming year, be granted the opportunity of working along with two metropolitan police agencies in Canada. Another is scheduled to pursue advanced police training in the United Kingdom.
It is our intention to continue to afford the next generation of leaders of the Police Force this type exposure as we seek to do the necessary to ensure that the Royal Bahamas Police Force is properly manned and fully equipped to meet the demands for policing at this stage in our national development.
For the time being, we are similarly resolved that the Force continues, to benefit from enlightened and experienced leadership.
We believe that such experience and knowledge resides in another policeman who has risen through the ranks of the Force over the past 42 years.
Mr. Ferguson assumed duties as Commissioner of Police (Ag.) on the 21 November last year upon Commissioner Farquharson’s commencement of pre-retirement leave.
Mr. Ferguson, who hails from Snug Corner Acklins, enlisted in the Royal Bahamas Police Force in 1965. His career on the Force has embraced all facets of policing. He has served in Central Division, Criminal Investigation Division, Security and Intelligence Branch, New Providence District, Airport Division and Drug Enforcement Unit.
Mr. Ferguson was instrumental in the development of the Drug Enforcement Unit beginning in 1988, commanded the Unit and was eventually appointed Assistant Commissioner in charge of Crime.
More recently Mr. Ferguson was appointed Deputy Commissioner after serving for many years as an Assistant Commissioner.
Mr. Ferguson received police training in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and the Caribbean.
A no-nonsense policeman, Reginald Ferguson is highly regarded and respected in policing circles both at home and abroad.
During his 42 year police career there has never been a suggestion of impropriety on his part. He is honest and straight forward, to a fault.
In short, as they say in police lingo: ‘Reg Ferguson is a policeman against whom nothing adverse is known’.
He has been honoured by the Queen with the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service. He also holds the Bahamas Police Medal for Meritorious Service and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
We are convinced that Reginald Ferguson possesses the vision, competence and vigour required to lead the Force in this period of transition.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The Royal Bahamas Police Force continues today to be challenged by the increased levels of criminality in our neighbourhoods and communities.
Still, theirs is the task of continuing the mission to protect and defend The Bahamas and its citizens against all forms of criminality.
I take this opportunity to reiterate that my Government is committed to ensuring that our laws are vigorously enforced, modernized and strengthened where necessary.
And, I give every assurance that the Government is firmly committed to supporting the Police Force in its important national duty.
In this regard, we will not only cause significant improvements in our legal, judicial and penal systems but I wish to assure, Commissioner Ferguson (Ag.) and the Members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, that the Force will receive adequate budgetary funding, continued manpower training and development, and infrastructural development so as to facilitate the fulfillment of their mandate to safeguard our people.
I am pleased, on behalf of the Government and people of The Bahamas, to extend congratulations to you Acting Commissioner Ferguson, and to express our full confidence that all officers and members of the Police Force will give you their loyal assistance and support.
Commissioner to be Ferguson, as you so well know, your success and the success of the Force will be influenced, and to a large extent determined, by your relationship with the men and women under your command.
This disciplined Force expects from you not only firmness but fairness and compassion.
As a manager you must be pro-active and knowledgeable, about the country, about the Force, and about those under your command. Effective planning, organization and strategic management must be your watchwords. A good and effective leader is central to the good governance of any organization.
As a leader you will be called upon not only to command the troops and to lead by example, but also to marshal a conscious and constant effort toward ensuring that the highest degree of sensitivity is exhibited by you and your men in the exercise of your duty.
You must always be mindful of the diverse and oftentimes polarizing nature of the Bahamian landscape, and of the indispensable need for the Police Force to be able to secure the trust and confidence of all persons in the society it seeks to serve. That is especially so if those persons are to be relied upon to fully support the Police in their crime prevention, detection, and other initiatives.
Of course, as the make-up of the Force represents a microcosm of our society, your focus will also have to be on engendering an atmosphere of all-inclusiveness in the Force in order to ensure that support is unified and galvanized behind your leadership.
Because of your impeccable credentials and your unimpeachable character, I have no doubt that you are fully capable of leading the Royal Bahamas Police Force. That is why, following upon consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, I caused you to be appointed.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In closing, I call on all members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force to give Commissioner Ferguson their full support in the execution of his very important task of leading this important national institution.
I again express the nation’s gratitude to Commissioner Farquharson (retired) for his unblemished and devoted service to his country, and congratulate Acting Commissioner Ferguson on his assumption of command of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
The hopes and prayers of our nation go with you.