17 Mar 2011

Tonga MP suspects political machinations behind bid to remove Police Commissioner

4:32 pm on 17 March 2011

A Tonga MP says he suspects politicians are behind a petition by police officers calling for the removal of the newly-appointed Police Commissioner, Chris Kelley.

The petition, signed by about 150 officers, was submitted to the Prime Minister last week and recommendations on a response to it are expected from a special committee next week.

The Matangi Tonga website reports that the petition opposes the Tonga Police Act 2010 and attendant restructuring of the police force.

Akilisi Pohiva, the leader of the Friendly Islands Democratic Party, says it's a very delicate issue.

"I was very shocked when I found out last week that some senior people in the police department organised that petition because to me my assessment is that I liked the way the Police Commander carried out his duties in the past two years."

Akilisi Pohiva says his assessment's based on discussions with several of the country's top lawyers.