For those of us who do not have a law degree but have learned something about right and wrong during our lives, it was always a ridiculous situation.
That the Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil was facing over 200 charges, ranging from the trivial to the extremely serious, just beggared belief.
The man would have had to have been involved in wrongdoing twenty four/seven and to have spent years in his Commissioner’s position to have managed to achieve such a record.
And while many of us are vehemently opposed to the U.S. style of policing favoured by Fuiavailili, it was very obvious that in trying to bring about positive changes, he came up against some very entrenched and ineffective systems that had endured in the Police for a very long time.
But there was still more to this ongoing soap opera.
And entertaining as it may have appeared at times because of the heights of stupidity it reached, there were also some serious and disturbing aspects to it.
There were the so-called ‘ghost letters’ adding unsubstantiated drama when they would have served a better purpose if dispatched to the Sunday umu.
There were the inappropriate and flippant comments by the Prime Minister who sought to downplay the matter by employing his sometimes dubious sense of humour in what the rest of the country saw as a serious matter. His strategy it seems was an effort to pretend all was well when it clearly wasn’t by likening the Police Commissioner and Director of the National Prosecution Office (N.P.O.) to a couple of kids having a spat. That he thought the general public would find that comparison amusing, showed how far off the mark he was.
Given that both the Police Commissioner and the Director of N.P.O. hold such power over the lives and futures of those they come in contact with, it was chilling to think our Prime Minister appeared to hold them in such low regard, even in jest.
Equally chilling, was the suggestion put out that some of the accusations from both sides were from a stance of vindictiveness and tit for tat retaliation rather than from any real wrongdoing.
And further, this whole debacle has rattled the country’s trust and raised questions about the ability and integrity of some of those appointed to high positions.
Inevitably, yesterday, to our relief and at great cost to the taxpayers – lawyers costs, salaries, wasted time, months of waiting and an unimaginable cost to the health, well being and reputation of the accused Fuiavailili, a Queen’s Counsel Kenneth Nigel Hampton from New Zealand gave the reasons for the matter to be dismissed.
And it was.
Have any other positives come out of this? Perhaps.
A new law limiting salaries and benefits to those who are suspended to a month only is well overdue for the poor beleaguered taxpayers.
But with the case against the former Director of the N.P.O. still to play out, there is still a way to go yet before this saga is over.