Police Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil has identified his first cut following a Cabinet decision this week to hand back the leadership and management of the Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services to SPS.
Within days, Commissioner Keil has requested the removal of Assistant Chief Executive Officer Maiava Viiga Fuimaono, as one of the first of many decisions Su’a would be making as part of the reform process ahead.
Samoa did not sleep on Monday 23rd March when 36 prisoners from the high-risk Cell Room 1 at Tanumalala prison escaped after a riot broke out. Prisoners attacked prison guards and other inmates with makeshift weapons, rocks and bricks in a rampage that left several guards and prisoners hospitalised.
In response, Cabinet immediately handed back the management of Samoa’s Prisons to the Commissioner of Police, with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi saying the changes were “effective immediately”.
Responding to questions from Samoa Global News, Su’a Fuiavailiili said, “Based on certain events and for the sake of a smooth transition of moving Prisons under the Samoa Police Service, I am confidant that one of the ACEOs must be stood down; however, pending Cabinet adoption”.
Assistant Chief Executive Officer Maiava Viiga Fuimaono has recently moved to the role from the Ministry of Women and Women and Community Development.
The Police Commissioner adds that, “There will be reforms and changes, and some will resist change”.
Commissioner Keil says he expects a smooth transition and that reforms are necessary to ensure the safety of Samoa.
“I addressed the prisons staff yesterday and it is clear that most welcome the change”.
“I am looking forward to the merger and working with every member of SPCS”.
The running of Samoa’s Prisons and Corrections has been under a cloud of controversy since its separation from SPS following a costly reform funded and advised by the usual influx of technical assistance in a project that spanned over five years to implement.
That will now all be reversed under the necessary remerge back of prisons to come under the direction of Samoa’s Police Commissioner and the Samoa Police Service.