Cabinet seeks legal advice after king extends Police Commissioner’s contract

Kuo kumi ‘e he pule’anga ha fale’i fakalao hili ‘a hono tali ‘e he Tu’i Tupou VI ke toe fakalōloa e konituleki ‘a e Komisiona Polisi. Kuo toe fakalōloa ‘a e konituleki ‘a Steve Caldwell ‘i ha ta’u ‘e ua hili ia hano tali ‘e he Fakataha Tokoni ‘i he uike kuo ‘osi Pulelulu ‘aho 11 ‘o ‘Epeleli, 2018, tu'unga 'i ha fale'i 'a 'ene Pēnolo Fokotu'u Lakanga. Na’e ‘osi ‘ene konituleki ‘i he ‘aho 14 ‘o ‘Epeleli. Pehē ‘e he Ministā Polisi ‘oku tui ‘a e pule’anga ‘oku ‘ikai kei taau ‘a Caldwell mo e fatongia. Na’a ne pehē ‘oku ‘ikai ke toe kole ‘e Tonga ia ki Nu’u Sila ke ‘omai ‘a ‘ene tokoni pa’anga ke vahe mei ai ‘a Caldwell. ‘Oku tui e Minisitā Polisi ne ‘ikai fale’i lelei ‘e he Pēnolo Fakanofo Lakanga ‘a e Fakataha Tokoni ‘a e tu’i ke to e fakalōloa atu e konituleki 'a Caldwell. Ko e Pēnolo eni 'oku fehu'ia lahi 'e he lipooti 'a Peter Pursglove ne tuku atu ai ha ongongo he Kaniva he uike kuo 'osi 'a hono tu'unga fakalao , ta'e fakakonisitūtone mo ta'efakatemokalati hono fa'unga. 'Ikai ko ia pe ka ne pehē 'e Pursglove ko e toe ala 'a e Fakataha Tokoni ke kau he ngaahi mafai fakahoko ngāue 'oku ta'efakakonisitūtone mo ia ia.

The government is seeking legal advice after King Tupou VI endorsed Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell’s contract extension.

Mr. Caldwell has been given another two years to control the Force after the extension was approved by the Privy Council last week Wednesday 11 April 2018. His contract expired on April 14.

The Minister of Police, Hon. Tapueluelu, said the government believed Mr Caldwell was no longer fit for the job.

He said the government has not asked the New Zealand government to activate its funding scheme which paid majority of the Commissioner’s pay.

The government said it believed the Privy Council overstepped its bounds when it made the decision to prolong the contract.

Hon. Tapueluelu said the government also believed the king in Privy Council had received bad advice from his Appointment Panel before he approved Mr Caldwell’s extension.

Hon. Tapueluelu said the Commissioner’s contract documents clearly said it was a contract between the government of the kingdom of Tonga and Mr. Caldwell.

He said section 10 of the Police Act gave the Privy Council only three requirements under the Police commissioner’s appointment process.

It said: “Having received advice from the Judicial Appointments and Discipline Panel, the King in Privy Council — (a) shall appoint the Commissioner; (b) shall determine his terms of appointment; and (c) in accordance with section 13 may dismiss him.”

The Minister of Police said the rest of the requirements by law to make sure the Commissioner’s contract was well looked after was under an “executive” role given to the Cabinet. This included taking care of his pay, days off and other entitlements.

As Kaniva News reported earlier, the government told the New Zealand Prime Minister in a meeting in Tonga recently that the kingdom no longer wanted Mr Caldwell.

Mr. Caldwell’s appointment was approved by the king in a process in which His Majesty was advised by a panel of law lords including Lord Dalgety and the Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu.

Privy Council unconstitutional

The government’s claims came after Kaniva republished a story it published in July 2014 last week.

The story was based on a report by Peter Pursglove, an expert in Constitutional Law, which was endorsed by the Tu’ivakano government in 2014. The report was also submitted to the king.

The Pursglove report said the Privy Council was in breach of section 30 of the Constitution in so far as it  purported to  exercise  any  Executive  powers  and  functions  under  the Constitution.

It said the Privy Council had failed to recognise the limits of its authority under the Constitution of 2010.

“The Privy Council, appointed at the personal discretion of the King, represents absolute Monarchy and the performance of any Executive functions by the Council breaches section 51(1) of the Constitution and is accordingly unconstitutional,” the report said.

“The Judicial Appointments and Discipline Panel, as a Committee of the Privy Council, has, therefore, no basis for legitimacy under the Constitution. Where the Constitution confers any Executive role for the Privy Council this must be reviewed and amended and section 83C of the Constitution repealed. The Judicial Services Commission should instead be reinstated by Statute to replace the Judicial Appointments and Discipline Panel.”

The main points

  • The government is seeking legal advice after King Tupou VI endorsed Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell’s contract extension.
  • Caldwell has been given another two years to control the Force after the extension was approved by the Privy Council last week Wednesday 11 April 2018. His contract expired on April 14.
  • The Minister of Police, Hon. Tapueluelu, said the government believed Mr Caldwell was no longer fit for the job.
  • He said the government has not asked the New Zealand government to activate its funding scheme which paid majority of the Commissioner’s pay.

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