Previous PC Panel letter asks cabinet to confirm Police Commissioner’s pay

Lolotonga e fakaongoongo 'a e fonua ki ha aofangatuku 'a e tama tu'i ki he kole ke fakaloloa e konituleki 'a e komisiona polisi, kuo ma'u 'e ho'omou ongoongo Kaniva Tonga ha tatau 'o ha tohi mei he Penolo Fakanofo Lakanga 'a e Fakataha Tokoni fekau'aki mo e mafai ki he vahe 'a e komisona. 'Oku mahu'inga e tohi ko 'eni he kuo 'i ai foki 'a e fetukuaki ko hai ko a 'oku 'i ai e mafai ke 'oange ha vahe 'a e komisiona polisi. Ko e tohi ko 'eni 'oku fakaha ai ko e ngafa ma'ata'atā pe ia 'o e pule'anga ke ne loto ke alea'i ha vahe ma'a e komisiona. Ko e tohi 'eni 'i he 2015 ki he minisita polisi 'o e 'aho ko ia Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa 'o fakahoko atu ko e fatongia ki hono alea'i e vahe 'a e komisona ko e me'a ia 'a e pule'anga. Ko e tohi 'eni 'a e kalake ki mu'a 'a e Penolo ko Rosamond C. Bing pea na'a ne kole ki he minisita polisi 'aho ko ia ke fakamahino mai ki he Penolo pe 'e tali 'e he pule'anga 'a e vahe 'a e komisiona kuo fokotu'u atu 'i ha konituleki fakaangaanga ne 'oatu fakataha mo ene 'imeili ki he minisitaa. Na'e fakamahino 'e Fonua ki he Minisita 'e pau ke tatali 'enau fokotu'u atu ki he Tu'i ke tali e hoko hake 'a Steve Caldwell ki he lakanga komisiona kae 'oleva ke mahino ki he Penolo kuo felotoi 'a e kapineti mo e pule'anga Nu'u Sila ki he vahenga 'o Caldwell. Na'e fakamahino foki 'e Fonua 'oku 'ikai ha kaunga 'e taha 'o e Penolo ki he vahe 'a e komisiona ko e me'a pe ia 'a e kapineti. Kuo 'osi fakaha foki 'e he Minisita Polisi Mateni Tapueluelu 'oku ikai tali ia 'e he kapineti ke fakaloloa 'a e konituleki 'a e komisiona pea kuo nau 'osi fakaha ki Nu'u Sila 'a e 'uhinga 'oku 'ikai ke nau loto ai ke toe fakaloloa mo fakahoko atu 'oua na'a 'omai ha vahe ki he komisona ni. Kuo pehe mei Nu'u Sila ia te nau fakaongoongo pe ki he pule'anga. Oku tukuaki'i 'e Tapueluelu 'a Caldwell ki he ngaahi to nounou kau ai e pehe kuo hehema 'ene fakahokotu'utu'uni mei he totonu tu'unga 'i hano vele'i ia 'e ha ni'ihi faihala ma'olunga 'i hono 'ofisi. Ka ne pehe foki 'e Caldwell ia ki mu'a ki he Kaniva ko e tu'utu'uni kotoa pe kuo ne fai kau ai e tuli ha ni'ihi ne fakatatau pe ki he lao.

A letter from the Privy Council’s Appointment Panel in 2015 to former Minister of Police Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa contained a request to Cabinet to confirm what it had agreed with New Zealand on the Police Commissioner’s pay.

The letter, which was written by former clerk of the Panel, Rosamond C. Bing, on 23 January 2015 was intended to ask the government to confirm it agreed with a draft contract of the current police commissioner Steve Caldwell.

Bing wanted to make sure the two governments reached a conclusion on the pay before the Panel recommended Mr. Caldwell’s appointment to the king.

She said the Panel had nothing to do with the commissioner’s pay and because Tonga had no Police Commissioner at the time she asked for an urgent response from the minister.

“Obviously any appointment of actual salary terms for Mr. Caldwell’s appointment must be negotiated between the New Zealand government and the Tongan government and that is not something the Panel is in a position to undertake,” Ms Fonua wrote.

The letter was sent to the Minister and copied to New Zealand’s then High Commissioner in Tonga, Mark Talbot, together with a copy of former Police Commissioner Grant O’Fee’s contract.

Bing wrote: “The Panel has assumed that the same arrangement will apply with respect to the appointment of Mr. Caldwell however before we are in a position to make a recommendation to His Majesty in Privy Council as to what the specific benefits and supplementary should be, we need to know what the government of Tonga and government of New Zealand are willing to contribute to the position.”

“I would be grateful for your urgent confirmation that the government is in agreement with the draft terms so that this can be submitted to His Majesty in Privy Council for approval.”

Commissioner versus the minister

Mr. Caldwell was at the centre of a clash between the Privy Council’s Appointment Panel and the Cabinet after the current Minister of Police Mateni Tapueluelu submitted that the Panel not extend the commissioner’s contract.

The Panel has already indicated it would recommend the king approve Mr Caldwell’s appointment.

As Kaniva News reported, the Privy Council has given Mr Caldwell seven days to respond.

Hon. Tapueluelu has made a number of accusations against the Police Commissioner including alleging his decision making was swayed by a number of corrupt senior Tongan officials in his office.

The former Minister of His Majesty’s Armed Forces Lord Ma’afu told Kakalu ‘o Tonga newspaper  Mr. Caldwell had written to Cabinet and apologised for the signing of a permit by the Deputy Commissioner for the Armed Forces to import 400,000 ammunition after the king dissolved Parliament last year.

Lord Ma’afu  claimed the Commissioner said it was a ‘fehalaaki’ (mistake.)

Hon. Tapueluelu claimed the signing was unlawful and the Deputy Commissioner had no power to sign such letter.

Lord Ma’afu  said Mr. Caldwell did the right thing by apologising when his office made a mistake.

Lord Ma’afu said he believed the gist of the problem was that  Hon. Tapueluelu was unable to sit down together with his Commissioner of Police and talk about why he was not satisfied with his work.

The main points

  • A letter from the Privy Council’s Appointment Panel in 2015 to former Minister of Police Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa contained a request to Cabinet to confirm what it had agreed with New Zealand on the Police Commissioner’s pay.
  • The letter, which was written by former clerk of the Panel, Rosamond C. Bing, was intended to ask the government to confirm it agreed with a draft contract of the current police commissioner Steve Caldwell.
  • Fonua wanted to make sure the two governments reached a conclusion on the pay before the Panel recommended Mr. Caldwell’s appointment to the king.

For more information

Tonga tells PM Ardern it no longer wants Caldwell; PC’s committee and cabinet clash after advice to extend contract

Minister of Police threatens to stop Commissioner Caldwell’s pay today

King leaves Tonga as decision on Police Commissioner’s contract deferred, says Minister

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