Police Commissioner Fuiavai’ili’ili Egon Keil and his management team have a lot of work to do. If the list Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi announced last week is anything to judge by, their work has been cut out for the next 12 months - or more.
It’s a long list. Naturally, they were reminded that it is the duty of the Police officers to enforce the law and maintain the peace.
“The uniform you are wearing comes with authority, which sometimes is abused and used in reckless ways and at times you forget that you are a public servant,” he said.
Tuilaepa, as the Minister of Police, would know what he is talking about it.
Besides, we’ve seen a fair few of these examples in the past where cops have abused the uniform for personal gain. This is not to say that it is not happening anymore, who knows? Still it is a timely reminder from Prime Minister Tuilaepa which should be taken very seriously by the Police Force.
But that wasn’t all.
“Your judgment should be fair and based on the law. Also you’ll be tempted by your families to bend the law, but you should avoid that any way possible.
“Don’t let compassion be a factor in your decision making and always utilise wisdom and foresight, that’s where the Holy Spirit resides, especially when honesty is at the forefront of what you do.”
Speaking of honesty, the Prime Minister went on to urge Police officers to live within their means.
“I am looking at your salaries, and if I see that after the deductions there is only $10 left in your cheque; yet you make close to $2,000 biweekly; that means this officer is receiving bribes on the job,” he said. “It tells me that anyone can come to you asking to throw away criminal files, and that’s why the judges end up making the wrong decision, because the files cannot be located – at times cases cannot be prosecuted.”
Now these are very serious allegations. Perjury, perverting the course of justice not to mention serious professional misconduct are not claims that should be taken lightly. But then again, we know it has happened in the past. Which is why the Police need to pay attention to what the Prime Minister is saying.
Now the last item on the list is the issue of extra marital affairs. And Tuilaepa was quite adamant in his instructions that he wants this to end now.
“Back then if you don’t get a girl pregnant in the Ministry of Police, you are not a real male police officer. An ego boost for the men in the Police force, which to this day is the source of many problems in the Ministry,” he said.
Tuilaepa reminded about the ultimatum placed on married couples within the Ministry of Police, which went into force last year.
“More than 30 police officers were removed as a result and this was specifically highlighted for the Ministry of Police, given your duties deals with wrongdoing in the country.”
It’s not hard to understand what the Prime Minister is talking about. He obviously wants to avoid cases of conflict of interest for the sake of transparency and good governance within the Ministry. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out the potential conflicts, especially in a small country like Samoa.
But when it comes to extra marital affairs and defacto sexual relationships, we feel that perhaps the Police have been unfairly targeted in this matter. We say this because there are many other Ministries where these cases exist – not just the Ministry of Police.
Which means therefore that if the Prime Minister and his administration are going to come down hard on the issue, they should be consistent and do it to everyone else in the public service. And Samoa for that matter.
The point is that Prime Minister Tuilaepa is not wrong in what he is trying to do. But he needs to be consistent, fair and not just pick on a few defenseless Police officers while the rest of the public service is free to the same thing he is trying to stop at the Police.
What do you think?
Have a wonderful week Samoa, God bless!