Tonga will not renew Police commissioner O’Fee’s contract

Eight more months before Tonga’s Police Commissioner’s  contract finishes in 2015 an interview has been conducted in Nuku’alofa last week to choose a new police commissioner for Tonga.

Grant Charles O’Fee from Wellington New Zealand was appointed as Tonga’s current police commissioner on a three year contract in July 2012.

It was not clear when he would finish from his job but O’Fee has confirmed that Tonga has been looking for someone to replace him.

He said he met a lot of challenges while leading Tonga’s Police Force  at the same time he was happy that the future of the Tongan Police is promising.

In 2011 O’Fee’s predecessor, Chris Kelly from New Zealand took a leave options one month before his three year contract finished on September after the then Minister of Police advised him four months beforehand that he would not be seeking a renewal of his contract.

The planned early departure of Mr Kelly from his job came after a top-level row that led to the Late King George Tupou V announcement through his Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, that the minister’s announcement that Kelly’s contract would not be extended was illegal.

It says the king was not consulted in Privy Council about the decision to end Kelly’s contract.

In an interview today with Radio New Zealand, however,  O’Fee said he was quite happy with what he has achieved during his time with the Tongan Police.

“ I am really glad I have done it. I mean it has taught me things about – I mean I had never visited a Pacific island before I came here – other New Zealand”, he told the Radio.

“I have learnt a hell of a lot about Pacific people and learnt a lot about myself. It is a challenge. You’d be silly thinking coming up here that everything is going to be running like a sewing machine in a bath of oil.

It certainly has its challenges with resourcing, with corruption, brutality, a level of dishonesty that I was not used to in the [New Zealand] police, so it certainly has its challenges but there are some first class officers up here, some very very good young people and it is just a long term – if I am honest I am a little disappointed in some of the things that we haven’t achieved, but it is a long term and I think probably in a decade or 15 years we will start to see some real improvements but we just have to keep taking the little ones we have and accept that things aren’t going to go exactly as we would like and dealing with the people who are indulging in corrupt or brutal behaviour and getting rid of them”.

The interviewees for the top job included senior Police officers from Tongan Police and some from overseas apparently New Zealand and Australia.

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