About the Police and petition against the suspended Commissioner

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Dear Editor,

Is it just me or don’t the senior police officers that are behind the so called “no-confidence vote” or “petition” against Commissioner Fuiavailili understand that they actually have to put their signatures on the petition and take a real and actual vote that includes all sworn and non-sworn (i.e. civilian) members of the senior management team and executive team in order to make their grievance legitimate?

Either they are so dumb and do not know what an authentic petition or vote of no confidence constitutes or this minority group of principal level officers and A.C.E.Os in the Ministry of Police have no real courage or guts to put their names to paper.

I for one would like to know if this group of perhaps 20 or 30 something people at most, that claim to represent all 650 plus members or staff of the Ministry of Police, had actually consulted and received agreement from all staff in the ministry on the concerns they have raised with the Minister and now P.M. and I presume Cabinet?

First of all their outlined concerns by the media appear so petty and one-sided and grossly lacking in facts and evidence that they border on unfounded allegations and lies designed to sway the P.M. particularly and his Cabinet not to reinstate Fuiava Egon Keil as Police Commissioner, even if he is cleared by the Courts, of what seems a frivolous case brought against him by an incompetent and immature National Prosecution Office.

Let us take the issue of salary adjustment or salary increase for all Ministry of Police staff that I understand from a trusted source is now being implemented following the hard work of Commissioner Fuiava and new and civilian staff that joined the ministry after him. For years before Commissioner Fuiava joined the ministry, what were these principal officers (senior managers) and A.C.E.O.s (Assistant Commissioners/Directors) and C.E.Os (Commissioners) before him doing? 

I am told that if it wasn’t for Fuiava’s passion and commitment and support from his corporate and strategic services staff, the approval by Cabinet in July and current rolling out of the salary increase that benefits all staff, including what now appear to be very ungrateful and ungracious senior managers, would never have happened. Ironically I understand it is these very senior managers complaining about the supposed lack of action by Fuiava that will be paid their substantive salary increases first before the rest of the hardworking staff members of the ministry. And how do they thank Fuiava? With an unsigned petition and a made-up no confidence vote that did not involve all the members and staff of the ministry!

In terms of promotions, I understand that these very same whining senior managers had been advised time and time again that the salary adjustment - which benefits all staff, would be done first, and promotions - which would mainly benefit these senior managers, comes second due to budget constraints.

So why are they misrepresenting the truth about why promotions have not been done yet? I understand they had also been advised that salary increases and promotions have to be performance based and good character based, and these have to be established first. Thus they seem to have willingly ignored that and instead are demanding something that they have yet proven they deserve or have earned.

It is no wonder that this small group of senior managers do not want Commissioner Fuiava back. They essentially do not want to be held  accountable by any professional standards that the rest of the tax paid public servants in Samoa are meant to abide by. Sadly, I also understand that the present Assistant Commissioners are really no better than these senior managers and have been encouraging the petitioners to make inflammatory statements against the suspended Commissioner. They all oppose the positive changes Fuiava had been trying to introduce to improve Police services.

Interesting too their mention of the Police Minister’s relationship with Fuiava as if that helps the Minister in anyway. What that indicates to me is a Minister who does not understand that respect goes both ways and that the senior managers who are being the Minister’s mouthpiece are not doing him any favours in using him as yet another excuse to stop a good and effective leader like Fuiava Egon from taking a long standing poor performing and dysfunctional ministry forward and into future, where policing services are proactive and responsive to calls of help from the public and community, are effective and efficient and are free of corrupt individuals and practice.

And what is wrong with borrowing ideas from overseas police jurisdictions like LA, if those ideas are proven best practices that if adapted and applied well to local conditions and problems could help improve Samoa Police systems and processes? Again this shows the ignorance and limited vision of the petitioners and those that are supporting them from behind the scenes. For over half a century Samoa Police have been accepting substantial assistance and advice from New Zealand and Australian Police services and from U.S. Defence, so what is the deal, why single out L.A. all of a sudden now?

From my viewpoint I like that Commissioner Fuiava appears proactive not just in improving the whole police service but also in being at the frontline of drugs and arms raids and campaigns. Every time Fuiava and his T.O.S. team (that I see the petitioners are also whinging about) are successful in a raid and they uncover drugs and guns hidden sometimes in plain sight in this supposedly Christian and safe country of ours, it makes me feel safer and proud of the police actually doing some real crime prevention work, rather than performing the same old tired business as usual stuff of reacting and responding to crime that has already happened i.e. when it is already too late!

This reactive and doing nothing mentality to prevent crime and waiting for crime to happen so the Police have a job to do, is fundamentally what is wrong and what needs to be changed in the Ministry of Police. I am sorry to say but these complaining petitioners or senior managers and their hidden (i.e. gutless) supporters in the Executive are not and will not be the change champions needed to transform and elevate the Samoa Police Service into something better than it is now. What is needed is the return of Commissioner Fuiava to the leadership helm of the ministry in order to finish the positive work that he started.

Hopefully Cabinet and P.M. will make a wise decision and see the petition for what it actually is – a smokescreen put up by a bunch of foolish and rebellious staff in Ministry of Police who do not want to be held to high professional and leadership standards. Why else would they also complain about the P.S.U., which stands for the Professional Standards Unit, other than not wanting an effective and impartial unit in the ministry that would hold them to account!

I feel that if anyone should be pulled out of the Ministry of Police, it should be these complaining senior managers and current assistant commissioners whom I understand are manipulating the staff and organization to meet their personal agendas and private benefits. For instance I have been told that there are two particular assistant commissioners that are preying on the young women in the ministry for their own personal needs and sexual gratification, and they also mostly do not turn up to work at their assigned offices because they are busy running their own private businesses and affairs. And yet they are being paid over $84,000 tala of hard-earned Samoan taxpayer money each year!

Talofa e ia Samoa. I sincerely pray that the P.M. and Cabinet will wake up soon from their present self-induced comatosed state and rid the Ministry of Police of its real enemies within and restore Commissioner Fuiava to his rightful place for the sake of improving our Police services – something that is profoundly desired by our citizens, residents and visitors.

Soifua,

 

O.L.S.M.O

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