Hundreds of Bahrainis are being recruited into the country's police, National Guard and defence forces, Interior Minister Lieutenant General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said yesterdayThis is good news. Although I am generally against forced Bahrainisation (in place of a merit-based system), it only makes sense for our security and defence sectors to be made up of predominantly Bahrainis (and today's security sector is hardly merit-based anyway). This is especially necessary for those forces who may have to engage with the public in difficult positions. Today's mercenaries are generally seen as more of a source of security problems than a solution to it.
He said 449 Bahrainis were recruited into various posts at the Interior Ministry last year, while the same number of expatriates left the ministry.
Another 250 will be recruited this year, under the ministry's "comprehensive" campaign to recruit Bahrainis, Shaikh Rashid revealed in the weekly "meet the Press" gathering at the Prime Minister's Court.
Forty Bahraini police cadets have recently graduated, he told the gathering, which was attended by Premier's Court Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Cabinet Affairs Minister Mohammed Al Mutawa, Information Minister Nabeel Al Hamer and Minister of State Abdulnabi Al Sho'ala.
A seperate article makes obvious reference to ending the discrimination of Shia's, who are currently not allowed to hold positions in the Ministries of Interior and Defence.
Parliament yesterday approved a draft law aiming to Bahrainise the Interior Ministry, Defence Ministry and National Guard and end discrimination among different segments of the population.The obvious question to ask though is what will happen to the thousands of foreign mercenaries who have already been granted the citizenship package? I would assume that they still get to keep their jobs (and passport).
The MPs voted in favour or the proposal by their colleagues Jassim Hassan Abdul A'al, Hassan Eid Bokhammas, Abdulnabi Ahmed Salman, Abdul Hadi Marhoon and Yousif Zainal to give priority to Bahrainis for jobs in the security and defence sectors and in the National Guard.
The draft law states that non-Bahrainis cannot be employed except when special expertise is required and their total number cannot exceed over five per cent of the workforce.
It is also based on articles in the constitution which state that there should be no discrimination among Bahrainis because of gender, origin, language, religion or belief.
In any case, it seems like the new Interior Minister was given directions by the King about where to take the ministry before being handed the post. Let's hope the steps in this direction continue.