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16-11

Tonga Homeland Security

Pago Pago, American Samoa

Editor,

First, let me say this. After the terrorist act of September 11 in the United States, life has never been the same anymore, anywhere especially the security aspect of it. I would like to think that after 16/11 in Tonga, life is never going to return to what it was before 16/11. For those in Tonga, they should tell themselves to get used to the …“boys in green…” with road blocks and roving patrol as a way of life from now on. A necessary inconvenience and we can all thank the Demos and their supporters for their contribution.

If I was the Minister of Defense, I would set up a Homeland Security Department within the Ministry of Defense right away. The table of organization will look like this (from top to bottom):

1. Minister of Defense.: Answer directly to HM King George Tupou V

The Minister of Defense will be assisted by an Advisory Board of Directors that would make up of the following.

…• Commanding Officer, Tonga Defense force

…• Minister of Police

…• Representative from the Justice Department

…• Representative from the Parliament

…• Representative from the Premier…’s Office

…• More to be included if there is a need

2. Director of Homeland Security: Answer to the Minister of Defense.

3. Nobles: Answer to Director.

This includes …“Kau Matapule ma…’u tofi…’a kotoa…”. Villages and districts without a Noble like Kolomotu…’a, the leading …“hou…’eiki…” like Tu…’itavake is recognized. Detail to be determined.

3. Pulefakavahe. Answer to Noble.

Must know all the key players in his district. These include but not limited to church leaders, business owners, and so on. Detail to be determined.

4. …‘Ofisakolo. Answer directly to Noble or Pulefakavahe.

Must know every occupant of every household in his jurisdiction. May at times be given limited police authority to initiate citizen arrest etc. detail to be determined.

This Security Arrangement works in countries with cultural system like we have in Tonga. First, we acknowledge the importance of the local cultural leaders by respecting their position and power in their villages. I would like think that Honorable Nuku would like to be informed of any government interference in Kolonga before it happens. Moreover, villages will be more receptive to their own …‘Ofisakolo and Pulefakavahe than to a Police Officers they do not know. If I need to talk to someone from Ho…’ofoa, I…’ll contact Honorable Fohe first who in turn instruct his …‘Ofisa Koloa…’s to assist in making this meeting possible.

This system also encourages the local leaders to know more about the people in their respective villages and to be more responsive to their needs. They would know the people that need employment, visitors and criminal elements that roam their village streets.

I suggest that this is the time to set up this security system while 16/11 is still fresh in the minds of the people.

I strongly recommend this system because I have learned from real life experience that our police force and military might has its limits. We are not going to be very successful in any public projects until we get the unconditional support of the local people. The United States with its mighty Airforce, Navy and Marines lost in Viet Nam because we never got the respect of the local occupants. We are losing the war in Iraqi because we have problem securing the support of the local Sunis and Shiites.

Faka…’apa…’apa atu.

Mafi …‘o Amerika Samoa Lousiale Kava.

slkava [at] samoatelco [dot] com