8 July, 2020
Shortly before demitting office, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson, when asked to comment on the continued bad behaviour of police, said “That’s what they send us”, meaning that the police reflected the wider Bahamian society.
This is the old “microcosm” argument which has been used to hide and excuse the rampant corruption found in police, immigration, customs, RBDF and other so-called “disciplined” forces.
First, some definitions; a microcosm is defined as” a community, place, or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristics of something much larger”.
So, for example, if the disciplined forces encapsulate the traits and behaviors of wider Bahamian society, we should expect to find amongst their company rapists, murderers, burglars, domestic abusers, thieves, drunks, drug addicts, pedophiles and all of the dregs of society who make the lives of peaceful Bahamians into a daily hell.
Even the most jaded amongst us will find that this state of affairs is intolerable. That is why vetting, recruitment, and training is so important.
Bahamians should not have to find out to their horror, long after some miscreant has been in the job, that he or she is a more accomplished criminal than those they are supposed to detect, deter, and arrest.
So, the Bahamas Press article of today’s date should be a cautionary tale for those politicians and political flunkies who continually “follow orders” by recruiting and refusing to expel potential criminals from the ranks of the disciplined forces; eventually, the piper must be paid. The result is inefficient, lawless, incompetent, corrupt, and uncaring organizations where money and other forms of bribes trump national pride and security and Bahamians suffer because of it.
Subordinate know the extent of the criminality of their seniors. That is why there is little to no discipline in the ranks and there is nothing that these compromised officers can do for fear of exposure.
A Bahamas in which our disciplined forces are a microcosm of our society is dangerous and unsustainable. After all, they are supposed to be the good guys who protect use from criminals.
Our disciplined forces have some exceptionally good officers who fight daily to protect us from harm but recruitment practices of the past are now coming back to haunt us and these good, honest officers are outnumbered by a mile.
Raw recruits, no matter how poorly selected, can in time become supervisors and senior officers in their organizations. Many joined the forces as criminals and have not changed. Some came in as recruits in sensitive organizations where the vetting process wittingly or unwittingly failed to disclose their past criminal ties.
They are now in senior management and promote like-minded individuals, expanding the breadth and depth of their illegal activities which is having a pernicious effect on whatever organizations they are a part of.
Do not be surprised if foreign law enforcement organizations begin to take more notice of what is going on in this country and take steps to protect themselves against the potential threats posed by these systemically corrupt organizations. Why should they expose their valuable officers to harm?
The shambolic manner with which we approach national security in general and how we make Bahamians less safe in particular is nothing short of a national disgrace and, unless addressed, will have devastating consequences for the Bahamas.
Michael J. Brown